A roundup of what’s making news in South Carolina state government
It’s now official. Barring a last-minute entry by a unforeseen “dark horse” candidate, Republican Gov. Nikki Haley will once again face Democratic State Sen. Vincent Sheheen, D-Kershaw, in the race for governor.
Both Haley and Sheheen officially filed to run in the 2014 gubernatorial election on Tuesday. The two, of course, faced off in round one back in 2010, when Haley took 51 percent of the vote to Sheheen’s 47 percent.
Haley told reporters after filing that she hopes a lower unemployment rate and major economic announcements will bring undecided voters into her camp. Sheheen said he planned to point out significant missteps by the Haley Administration over the past three years, including the 2012 Department of Revenue hacking and the handling of a tuberculosis outbreak at a Greenwood County primary school.
No other candidates for governor have filed as of Wednesday morning, although Charleston-area businessman Steve French has indicated he will seek the Libertarian nomination.
Most observers peg the governor as the favorite at this time. But we all know that can change over the next seven months.
— A bill that would require breathalyzers to be installed on the cars of some convicted DUI drivers is now headed to the House floor. The House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday advanced the bill, known as “Emma’s Law.” The legislation would require any driver convicted of driving with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .15 or higher to install an ignition interlock device in their car in order to keep their license. But the bill’s supporters want a lower threshold than twice the legal limit.
— A proposed law that is meant to keep repeat violent offenders from being released on bond is now headed to the governor’s desk for her signature. The House unanimously approved S.19, which would try to make it easier for a judge to refuse bond against a suspect who commits a violent crime while already out on bond for a different offense.
— After cyclists loudly complained, The State newspaper reports a House member has pledged Tuesday to drop a bill she proposed that would have required them to get a license in order to ride along roads with a speed limit above 35 mph. State Rep. Wendy Nanney, R-Greenville, said she proposed the bill as a way to get the conversation started about bicycle safety and possible ways the state can make its roads safer.
— State senators have advanced legislation that would allow more school districts to use a sales tax to finance construction projects. The Senate Finance Committee gave its okay Tuesday to a bill by Sen. Harvey Peeler, R-Cherokee, that would allow school districts to ask voters if they want to approve a 1-cent sales tax for construction. Under current law, only counties with high tourism have the ability to create the tax. But one senator objected to the bill, saying it would disproportionately affect poorer residents.