— Capping off a long day of debate Thursday, senators voted to sell the two planes owned by the state. South Carolina has owned the planes for decades, but it appears the bad headlines they’ve garnered in recent years finally led legislators to get rid of them entirely. Senators voted 26-14 to include language in the budget to sell the planes.
— It was a dispute over Gov. Nikki Haley’s use of the planes that appears to have been the final straw. Democrats on Thursday focused on the governor’s videographer Zach Pippin, who frequently flies with Haley to film her press conferences and speeches. The problem is that he’s not a state employee; he’s paid by her campaign. The Governor’s Office insists Pippin is conducting state business and is legally allowed to go on the flights, even producing an email from a State Ethics Commission attorney to back up their case.
— The state Department of Public Safety on Thursday released the dashboard camera video of Rep. Ted Vick’s (D-Chesterfield) arrest on Tuesday night. An officer says he stopped Vick in the Statehouse parking garage after watching him stumble across the Statehouse grounds, then hit a traffic cone with his car. In the video, Vick can be seen struggling to avoid being handcuffed. He also repeatedly tells the arresting officer that he is “not intoxicated.”
— As the House Ways & Means Committee prepares to take up a cyber-security reform bill, a consultant is warning them not to do too much at once. Michael Wyatt of Deloitte & Touce, LLP., was hired to help recommend changes in South Carolina’s antiquated computer network after the Department of Revenue hacking. On Thursday, he told committee members that he felt they were wrong to centralize all aspects of information security into a single office.
— When senators come back for a second week of budget debate next Tuesday, they will likely take up a controversial school-choice proposal. The issue of giving tax deductions for parents whose children attend private school has been fought in the public sphere for years now. But supporters feel they are very close to winning support in the Senate for the first time. Opponents prevented it from coming up to a vote Thursday, knowing three critical “no” votes were not in Columbia at the time.
— Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell joined with Honda to kick off a new effort to fight hunger among seniors in South Carolina. The Sustain Our Seniors effort launched after a brief Statehouse ceremony Thursday. Honda donated two minivans for senior centers to use, while Leadership South Carolina presented over $100,000 in donations. South Carolina has the second-highest level of senior hunger in the nation.