February 11, 2016

Legislative Update: March 6

Headlines from the South Carolina State Capitol (see a schedule of Tuesday’s meetings)

SC Statehouse (File)

–Campaign season is starting to heat up for seats in the General Assembly. Within 48 hours of State Sen. Greg Ryberg’s (R-Aiken) announcement that he would not seek reelection this year, State Rep. Tom Young (R-Aiken) announced he would seek the spot… Meanwhile, an Aiken City Councilman and an Aiken County Councilman both announced their intentions to replace Young in the House.

In Columbia, a pair of former city council members expressed interest in the district of retiring Rep. Jim Harrison… At the same time, Democratic attorney Robert Rikard plans to challenge longtime Republican Sen. John Courson for the District 20 seat in downtown Columbia.

–State Sen. Lee Bright’s (R-Roebuck) trucking company is facing foreclosure on its property, according to the Spartanburg Herald-Journal. Bright says his company, On Time Trucking, is struggling, but says the bank “breached its contract.” On Time Trucking owes approximately $318,000, according to a lawsuit filed by the bank.

–A bill by Rep. Alan Clemmons (R-Myrtle Beach) that would have placed tougher restrictions on voter registration drives was sent back to committee last week, a sign the bill had lost support even among Republicans. Voter registration groups had complained the law would likely shut down their drives.

–Waste collection could be a topic in the House chambers this week, as House Republicans try to overrule an Horry County law they say creates a government-sponsored monopoly. The “Business Freedom to Choose Act” is currently on the House floor. Horry County officials call the bill an overreach.

–The House last week passed a bill by Rep. Chip Limehouse (R-Charleston) that would bar a judge from awarding child custody to a convicted sex offender. The bill now goes to the Senate. Limehouse said, while those convicted of child abuse or domestic violence are already prohibited from becoming foster parents, there is a loophole that could allow for sex offenders. He said he was not aware of any getting custody, however.

–Republican legislators running for office in Laurens County are being asked to sign a 28-point pledge before their name is placed on the GOP ballot. While the pledge includes the usual Republican positions on limited government and social issues, it also raised eyebrows with by requiring signees to practice abstinence before marriage and to promise not to look at pornography.

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