Headlines from the South Carolina Statehouse:
–As the budget debate continues in the state Senate, one senator is pushing for lawmakers to eliminate more than $4 million in earmarks. Sen. Shane Massey (R-Edgefield) said the spending, which ranges from funds for a new history museum in Myrtle Beach to money for private colleges, represents “pork” that should be trimmed. His amendment could come up for debate Wednesday.
–One of those proposals Massey wants to eliminate would be $200,000 for the Mitchelville Preservation Project on Hilton Head Island. Organizers there hope to use the funds to buy land that would eventually be used to recreate the first community of freed slaves in America. Sen. Tom Davis (R-Beaufort), who asked for the funding, said he agrees with Massey’s premise but argues Mitchelville is a worthy project.
–A bill that would require legislators to follow the Freedom of Information Act is in danger of not passing this year. The legislation, which cleared the House last month, would put lawmakers under the same disclosure laws as other state and local officials. After senators cancelled a meeting Wednesday that would have taken up the measure, sponsor Rep. Bill Taylor (R-Aiken) took to Twitter to warn it could be dead: “FOI bill was hanging by a thread with time running out; this is a blow!”
–Meanwhile, the House Committee on Education and Public Works advanced a bill that would allow home school students to participate in high school sports. A student would be able to play varsity sports for the school they are zoned to attend, so long as their participation does not keep a student who actually attends the school from being on the team. The bill passed the Senate last month.
–The Columbia Free-Times uncovered the latest Palmetto State political video that is going viral nationally… this time it is a union organizer repeatedly hitting a piñata representing Gov. Nikki Haley with a baseball bat. Outgoing AFL-CIO of South Carolina president Donna DeWitt was celebrating her retirement at the time. She remains unapologetic– telling South Carolina Radio Network that Haley has “bashed” unions repeatedly and this was an opportunity to bash back. However, even state Democrats and the national AFL-CIO do not approve, although the governor didn’t seem to take it seriously.