A roundup of what’s making news in South Carolina state government.
A bill that would replace the South Carolina State University board of trustees is scheduled to come up for a vote in the state House on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, the state Budget and Control Board is set to consider changing the repayment schedule for a $6 million loan the entity gave the school last year. The vote would extend the loan from its June 30 deadline.
The House is scheduled to consider another bill replacing the college’s trustees with a smaller, temporary panel. The chamber voted on a similar proposal as part of its 2015-2016 budget last week. The bill before the House now is separate legislation, but would essentially do the same thing. The House plan would replace the board with a five-member panel appointed by the Budget and Control Board.
The measure is slightly different than a Senate bill which would have the new board appointed mostly by the legislature.
The move comes two days after the SC State board voted to fire President Thomas Elzey. Elzey filed an amended complaint in state court on Tuesday, stating he had not been paid since being placed on paid administrative leave last month. Elzey also claimed the board had not given a reason for his firing.
Board chairman William Small on Tuesday made public two letters sent to the president in January, claiming Elzey did not keep the board updated about what was happening at the school and what Smalls called a “disparaging” attitude towards the trustees.
— A state Senate panel met for less than five minutes before advancing a bill Tuesday that would allow the Department of Corrections to keep confidential the names of any pharmaceutical companies which sell execution drugs to the state. Corrections Director Bryan Stirling said suppliers have not sold any drugs for years due to worries about public backlash. South Carolina has not executed an inmate in four years because it lacks the drugs needed to do so.
— A Senate transportation panel advanced legislation that would allow the ridesharing app Uber to operate legally in South Carolina. Earlier this year, the Public Service Commission gave the company permission to operate statewide until June. In the meantime, the commission hoped state lawmakers would create new permanent regulations. The measure that advanced Tuesday would create a new type of business called a “transportation network company” (TNC).
— Former Florida governor Jeb Bush made several appearances across South Carolina on Tuesday, including a joint appearance with Gov. Nikki Haley at a Cayce victim’s shelter. Bush was also the featured guest Tuesday at a Greenville breakfast sponsored by Upstate business groups. He closed out the day at a fundraiser with the state House GOP in Columbia.
— State senators on Tuesday discussed a bill that would help better detect child abuse. The Senate Judiciary Committee introduced language on Tuesday that would allow a child’s medical records to be turned over to the State’s Children’s Advocacy Medical Response System without parental consent. Supporters say the records could determine whether or not there were signs of previous abuse. Right now, medical records can only be released by a parent or legal guardian, who might be causing the abuse.