Cindi Ross Scoppe

Here’s who voted to give SCE&G a blank check

YOU’VE HEARD BY now that only six SC legislators voted against the 2007 Base Load Review Act, which made it immeasurably easier for SCE&G to raise our rates and then leave us holding the bag for two abandoned nuclear reactors. It’s not true that the other 164 legislators all voted for the bill. Some — such as Rep. James Smith, who was deployed with the National Guard in Afghanistan — were absent. Some were there but didn’t vote. And in the Senate, there were no recorded votes — although many senators left evidence of their support.

So, to set the record straight, here’s what we can say for sure.

The six House members who voted against S.431 were Reps. Robert Brown, Marion Frye, Laurie Funderburk, Chip Limehouse, Jim Merrill and Wallace Scarborough.

The House Journal of April 18, 2007, shows that Mr. Limehouse and Mr. Merrill spoke against the bill, and Mr. Limehouse moved to send it back to committee. (There were 12 House members who voted to send the bill back to committee — Floyd Breeland, Robert Brown, Marion Frye, Laurie Funderburk, Ken Kennedy, Chip Limehouse, Walt McLeod, Jim Merrill, Wallace Scarborough, Gary Simrill, Seth Whipper and Robert Williams — but when it matters most, only six of them voted to kill the bill.)

Reps. Harry Cato and Bill Sandifer spoke and made motions in favor of the bill, and a total of 104 House members vote for its passage.

They were Paul Agnew, Terry Alexander, Karl Allen, Carl Anderson, Jimmy Bales, Nathan Ballentine, Bruce Bannister, Liston Barfield, Eric Bedingfield, Kenny Bingham, Dan Bowen, Bill Bowers, Joan Brady, Lester Branham, Curtis Brantley, Floyd Breeland, Grady Brown, Harry Cato, Catherine Ceips, Richard Chalk, Converse Chellis, Alan Clemmons, Bill Clyburn, Gilda Cobb-Hunter, Creighton Coleman, Bill Cotty, Kris Crawford, Tom Dantzler, Ralph Davenport, Greg Delleney, Jeff Duncan, Tracy Edge, Mike Gambrell, Jerry Govan, Carl Gullick, Ben Hagood, Nikki Haley, Glenn Hamilton, Nathan Hardwick, Bobby Harrell, Jim Harrison, Cathy Harvin, Gloria Haskins, Bill Herbkersman, Shirley Hinson, David Hiott, Kenneth Hodges, Lonnie Hosey, Chip Huggins, Joseph Jefferson, Doug Jennings, Keith Kelly, Ken Kennedy, Herb Kirsh, Bob Leach, Lanny Littlejohn, Phillip Lowe, Jay Lucas, David Mack, Joseph Mahaffey, Walt McLeod, Vida Miller, Harold Mitchell, Dennis Moss, Mick Mulvaney, Joe Neal, Jimmy Neal, Denny Neilson, Harry Ott, Phil Owens, Anne Parks, Skipper Perry, Olin Phillips, Gene Pinson, Ted Pitts, Mike Pitts, Bill Sandifer, John Scott, Bakari Sellers Phillip Shoopman, Gary Simrill, B.R. Skelton Donald Smith, Fletcher Smith, Murrell Smith, Garry Smith, Roland Smith, Kit Spires, Leon Stavrinakis, Jim Stewart, Scott Talley, Adam Taylor, Michael Thompson, Mack Toole, David Umphlett, Ted Vick, Thad Viers, Bob Walker, David Weeks, Seth Whipper, Brian White, Bill Whitmire, Robert Williams and Annette Young.

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The Senate Journals of April 12, 2007, shows that there were two amendments, both of which were approved, and then the bill was passed without a recoded vote. Sen. Tom Moore made a motion to give the bill an automatic third reading the next day, a Friday, when the Senate would not be in session. That made it possible for the House to pass the bill the following week. That motion requires unanimous consent, so we should be able to assume that all senators who were in the chamber at that time supported it. Or at least didn’t oppose it.

We do have one more useful piece of information: who sponsored the bill. The Senate sponsors were Glenn McConnell, Tom Moore, John Drummond, Nikki Setzler, John Matthews, David Thomas, Billy O’Dell, Greg Gregory, Darrell Jackson, Bill Mescher, Luke Rankin, Tom Alexander, Ralph Anderson, Larry Grooms, John Scott, Kent Williams, Ronnie Cromer, Lewis Vaughn, Jim Ritchie, Danny Verdin, Robert Ford, Ray Cleary, Kay Patterson, Wes Hayes and Jake Knotts.

Rep. Cato also sponsored an identical bill in the House, H.3499. It was co-sponsored by Sandifer, Scott, Agnew, Alexander, Anderson, Anthony, Bales, Ballentine, Bannister, Barfield, Battle, Bedingfield, Bingham, Bowers, Branham, Brantley, G. Brown, Chalk, Chellis, Clemmons, Clyburn, Cooper, Cotty, Dantzler, Davenport, Duncan, Gambrell, Gullick, Hardwick, Harrison, Harvin, Haskins, Hayes, Herbkersman, Hosey, Jennings, Leach, Littlejohn, Loftis, Lowe, Lucas, Mack, Mahaffey, Moss, J.M. Neal, Neilson, Ott, Parks, Perry, Pinson, M.A. Pitts, E.H. Pitts, Rutherford, D.C. Smith, G.M. Smith, G.R. Smith, J.R. Smith, Spires, Stewart, Talley, Taylor, Umphlett, Vick, Viers, Weeks, White, Whitmire, Williams, Witherspoon, Hiott, Skelton, Shoopman, Rice, Owens, Govan, Huggins, Allen, Mulvaney, Sellers, Kennedy, Miller, Coleman, Mitchell, Walker and Toole.

The Labor, Commerce and Industry Committee voted to turn H.3499 into a committee bill — H.3846. Committees do that when they support a bill so strongly that they want to give it some extra umph.

Then-Gov. Mark Sanford did not sign the bill, but he didn’t veto it either, so it became law without his signature on May 8, 2007.

Ms. Scoppe writes editorials and columns for The State. Reach her at cscoppe@thestate.com or (803) 771-8571 or follow her on Twitter or like her on Facebook @CindiScoppe.

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