The Legislature finally approved a state budget on Tuesday, though at the expense of undercutting a vital oversight function for higher education in South Carolina. It was a costly decision, particularly for college students whose tuition and fee payments are sometimes hiked to pay for capital projects.
To its credit, the state Senate actually balked at the House proviso to eliminate building oversight authority by the state Commission on Higher Education. But senators relented after Senate President Pro Tempore Hugh Leatherman warned them that a budget impasse could make for a “very long, hot summer.”
Too bad Sen. Leatherman wasn’t able to throw out the ill-considered proviso during earlier House-Senate conference committee negotiations. The Senate Finance Committee, which Mr. Leatherman chairs, tossed the initial version of the proviso during its review of the budget.…
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There is still one more hurdle for the anti-CHE proviso, however. Gov. Henry McMaster has the opportunity to make a statement about fiscal responsibility and higher ed oversight by vetoing the proviso when the budget goes to his desk. Considering the Senate’s initial rejection, a veto would almost certainly be sustained.
Then the Commission on Higher Education could continue doing its job.
All too often lately, or so it seems, news about law enforcement officers centers on the negative, on when situations go wrong and officers are found to be in the wrong. Indeed, there are officers who, it turns out, are less than exemplary. That’s true in any vocation. But most are drawn to the field of law enforcement out of a desire to perform a needed service, out of a desire to serve their communities well, and maintain law and order.
By all accounts, (Devin) Hodges, a 30-year-old husband and father, was one of those. He lost his life Thursday during a training exercise on Lake Hartwell. He was not responding to a call, he was not taken in an exchange of gunfire. Instead, while training to be the best officer he could be, a tragic accident claimed the young man’s life.
And that is why we, the very people Hodges and others in law enforcement serve and protect, should check ourselves and not take law officers for granted. They, like so many of us, do their jobs, but unlike many of us, they do so at a much higher risk to themselves. Even in training exercises.…
At this time when the loss of a uniformed officer hits so close to home, we can and should pause to thank them for the service they provide and offer whatever encouragement we can.
The S.C. Department of Public Safety, in conjunction with other state agencies, on Wednesday conducted a lane-reversal exercise to prepare emergency personnel for traffic scenarios that might occur during an actual hurricane. The exercise simulated the deployment of law enforcement personnel and traffic-control devices — even though lanes were not reversed for the exercise.
The evacuation exercise tested lane-reversal plans for Interstate 26, U.S. 21, U.S. 278, U.S. 501 and S.C. 544 in the event of a coastal evacuation order. Personnel and equipment from the S.C. Department of Public Safety, the S.C. Department of Transportation, the State Law Enforcement Division, the S.C. Department of Natural Resources, the S.C. Department of Probation, Parole and Pardons, the S.C. Forestry Commission, the Civil Air Patrol and the S.C. National Guard participated.…
The hurricane exercise is meant to test readiness during the pre-execution and mobilization phase, to test information flow from the emergency operations centers to the field, and to assess the procedures for lane reversals and to evaluate how well participating agencies work together.
Such tests are crucial in ensuring public confidence in the system. When ordered to evacuate, people must leave the coast without wondering whether they’ll be able to get out on the roads and highways.
The plan worked well in 2016 during Hurricane Matthew. Hopefully, Wednesday’s test will be its only use in 2017.