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$40 million farm-aid proposal becomes law over Haley’s veto

online@thestate.com

The S.C. Senate voted 39-3 Thursday to override Gov. Nikki Haley’s veto of $40 million in aid to S.C. farmers who lost crops during last year’s historic flooding.

The proposal now becomes law. The GOP-controlled House voted Tuesday to override Haley’s veto by a 112-2 vote.

To qualify, a farmer must have lost at least 40 percent of a crop. The grants will cover 20 percent of that loss, not to exceed $100,000.

Republican Haley had vetoed the aid, saying the money would be an “unprecedented bailout for a single industry affected by last year’s flooding.”

But the head of the GOP-majority state Senate disagreed.

“This isn’t about offering some kind of bailout,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Hugh Leatherman, R-Florence. “It is a fiscally responsible way to support our family farms.”

Only three senators — Lee Bright of Spartanburg, Tom Davis of Beaufort and Larry Grooms of Berkeley, all Republicans — voted to uphold Haley’s veto.

Davis said the aid was a government bailout of an industry.

Asked why then he voted to spend millions to renourish S.C. beaches — a move that helped tourism — Davis replied beaches are state-owned assets.

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