The House was not in session Thursday, having finished its work on the budget a day earlier.
— With a 34-5 vote, senators gave their approval to a bill that would create 10 days of early voting in South Carolina. The idea has been strongly supported by Senate Democrats for three years, but has been blocked by the Republican majority since 2011. The proposal still requires another procedural vote before it heads to the House, where Republicans there are supporting a different version. The Senate version creates ten days of early voting that end the Saturday before Election Day (but not including Sunday).
— While supporters of Medicaid expansion are criticizing all Republicans right now, they’re singling out one particular representative: Rep. Kris Crawford (R-Florence). That’s because Crawford is an ER doctor who previously said he supports the idea, yet voted against it during budget proceedings this week. But even that apparent contradiction isn’t what people are focusing on… it’s how he explained it. According to the Charleston Regional Business Journal, Crawford told a group of doctors in January that fellow Republicans pressured him to oppose the expansion because, “it is good politics to oppose the black guy in the White House right now.”
— Gov. Nikki Haley will introduce former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Friday, her staff confirmed. Haley’s spokesman said Romney had asked the governor to introduce him at the annual conference in Washington. The spokesman said Haley had not planned to attend before Romney’s invitation. The former Massachusets governor is scheduled to speak at 1 p.m.
— GOP senators are getting behind a new proposal sponsored by Majority Leader Harvey Peeler (R-Gaffney) that would require third-graders to be held back a year if they are not reading on grade level. A release from the Senate GOP Caucus said kindergarteners would receive a reading-readiness test before entering school to identify any learning barriers. The bill follows a recommendation from the independent Education Oversight Committee.
— Several members of the nuclear industry and its critics briefed the Governor’s Nuclear Advisory Council about the possibility that the Savannah River Site near Aiken could eventually become a temporary storage location for some commercial nuclear waste. But a new study commissioned by SRS’s Community Reuse Organization made it clear that federal officials would have to win over the community’s support in order to undertake such a project successfully. The study recommends that federal officials offer incentives, such as new research in the area or a legally binding promise that waste currently at SRS will be removed.