A look at what’s making headlines in the State Capitol. With the House on furlough this week, most of the attention is on the Senate.
–The Senate continues debate on a government restructuring bill, reaffirming their earlier vote to put the state’s procurement and purchasing authority in a new board rather than in the proposed Department of Administration, as the governor wants.
–The Senate also passed legislation that would make it easier for active-duty military to take college courses through a distance learning program. A bill by Sen. Darrell Jackson would offer in-state tuition rates to South Carolina natives stationed outside the state.
–The restructuring bill took most of Tuesday to debate, causing the cancellation of two committee meetings, including a scheduled vote to reappoint SLED chief Mark Keel to another term. Keel was appointed to fill out the rest of previous director Reggie Lloyd’s term last year… A vote on a proposed bill by Sen. Chip Campsen (R-Charleston) to make home invasion a felony was also cancelled.
–Attorneys for House Speaker Bobby Harrell argued a judge should toss out a lawsuit against the General Assembly over new congressional districts because the six black defendants cannot prove the new districts are discriminatory. The lawsuit challenges the plan passed by the Republican-controlled legislature, calling it “voter apartheid.”
–The GOP and Democratic primaries are still four months away, but races are already heating up in Greenville. Incumbent Sen. David Thomas (R-Greenville) already faces four challengers within his own party… Meanwhile, political consultant Chris Sullivan announced he plans to run against sitting Sen. Mike Fair (R-Greenville)… In the House, Givhans insurance agent Jordan Bryngelson says he will run against Democrat Patsy Knight (D-St. George), who has represented the district since 2007.
Here’s a list of what’s on tap for Wednesday in the Senate.