The South Carolina House of Representatives on Monday took the first step on deciding how $7 billion of General Fund revenue would be spent, part of a proposed $24 billion spending plan for the next fiscal year that begins July 1.
It was a relatively fluid process for two hours as entire agency budgets worth hundreds of millions of dollars were unanimously approved with little debate — the product of nearly two months of behind-the-scenes work by both Republicans and Democratic leadership.
Then came the budget for two small public colleges. And that’s when the acrimony and nearly an hour of debate began.
That’s when the House Republicans leadership supported an effort by some social conservative lawmakers to dock money from the schools for requiring their incoming freshmen to read LGBT-themed literature. College of Charleston had required freshmen to read “Fun Home,” a graphic novel by Alison Bechdel about her life growing up as a lesbian with an abusive closeted homosexual father. University of South Carolina-Upstate had required students to read “Out Loud,” a nonfiction book about South Carolina’s first gay and lesbian radio station.