On their first day back in session Tuesday, House Republicans upheld Governor Nikki Haley’s veto of the I-95 Corridor Authority. Supporters had pitched the Authority as a way for the poorer governments along I-95 to come together and apply for grants or pursue economic development projects. However, Republicans were concerned that the new council was unnecessary and duplicative.
–Meanwhile, South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson announced Tuesday his office would sue the U.S. Justice Department over its rejection of the state’s voter ID law. Wilson said the suit would be filed in a DC federal court.
— Senators moved forward with three bills that would stiffen the eligibility requirements for unemployment benefits. A Senate panel voted to issue a favorable report on three separate pieces of legislation that would: require a person to begin performing community service after six months with no job, force any recipients to pass a drug test, and no longer allow unemployed workers to only search for part-time work.
— The Senate slightly amended a House bill that would ban a real estate practice known as “transfer fee covenants.” The term is used to describe a practice in which the original developer of a property gets a percentage of the purchase price each time the property is sold in ensuing years. Common practice is a one percent fee for 99 years. Developers and real estate agents oppose the fee, calling it a “private tax.”
On Tap for Wednesday:
The Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources committee will take up a bill by Sen. Phil Shoopman (R-Greer) that would increase the fine on those who cut or remove timber without the permission of the landowner. It would also create a sliding scale of fines if the timber’s value was over $1,000.
A Senate judiciary subcommittee will look at several proposed constitutional amendments that would give voters the power to recall elected officials. Another proposed amendment would allow voters to pass laws by initiative petition.
A separate subcommittee will examine a bill by Sen. Chip Campsen (R-Charleston) that would classify home invasion as a “violent crime” in South Carolina.
Most of the House’s focus this week is crafting the FY 2013 budget. Members of the Ways & Means committee will continue to hear requests from different state agencies, including: the Commission for the Blind, the Lieutenant Governor’s Office, the Comptroller General’s Office, the Department of Transportation, and the Administrative Law Court, among others.
South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles director Kevin Shwedo will speak to the House Election Laws subcommittee about the state’s Voter ID law. There have been discrepancies between DMV and the State Elections Commission over how many people in South Carolina have photo IDs.