SC

SC Legislature: Special Session Speculation

LAWMAKERS CONFUSED BY SPEAKER’S DECISION TO CALL THEM BACK …  Is something serious about to go down at the S.C. State House?  Or is it much ado about nothing? That’s what South Carolina political observers – and many state lawmakers – are wondering after a surprise decision by embattled S.C….

LAWMAKERS CONFUSED BY SPEAKER’S DECISION TO CALL THEM BACK … 

Is something serious about to go down at the S.C. State House?  Or is it much ado about nothing?

That’s what South Carolina political observers – and many state lawmakers – are wondering after a surprise decision by embattled S.C. Speaker of the House Bobby Harrell to convene a special session of the House of Representatives later this month.

Harrell has summoned House members to Columbia, S.C. on August 27 at 2:00 p.m. – ostensibly to address a pair of gubernatorial vetoes that remain unresolved from the 2014 legislative session.  One veto struck down a law seeking to give librarians more authority in dealing with disruptive patrons.

The other veto – which lawmakers seem to believe is the impetus for Harrell’s decision – struck down a law that would have permitted a tax hike in Horry County.  The second veto was especially surprising seeing as Haley previously signed legislation authorizing up to $1.7 billion in local tax hikes.

Anyway …

One lawmaker – former S.C. majority leader Jimmy Merrill – publicly expressed surprise that Harrell would summon all 124 House members back to Columbia over such minor bills.

“It’s a little different to come back for such a small amount of legislation,” Merrill told reporter Jeremy Borden of The (Charleston, S.C.) Post and Courier.

Numerous lawmakers who spoke with FITS echoed that sentiment – wondering amongst themselves whether something else was afoot.

“It makes no sense,” one told us, saying Harrell had “terrible timing” by scheduling a session just prior to the Labor Day holiday.

Another lawmaker said Harrell’s notification of members seemed “disjointed.”

Every lawmaker we spoke with agreed that Harrell was not “going where the body guides him,” as his spokesman told The Post and Courier .

So what gives?

Conspiracy theories abound – including rumors that Harrell may be feeling pressure from federal investigators in connection with the ongoing investigation into his alleged public corruption.  Others suggest Harrell may be using the special session as an excuse to “count votes” in advance of this year’s Speaker’s election – which will be held following the November 2014 elections.

Others claim Harrell’s move is designed to enable lawmakers to expense travel costs associated with attending the University of South Carolina’s home football opener against Texas A&M the following day.

Lawmakers close to Harrell downplayed the rumor mill – saying the House was merely finishing business that was left unattended when lawmakers left town earlier this year.

“The House has been known to criticize the Senate for not acting on legislation sent over to them,” one Harrell confidant told FITS. “If we are failing to act on legislation they send over to us, we can’t do that.”

Whatever the purpose of the special session, it will cost taxpayers as much as $40,000 if all 124 House members show up.

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25 comments

Thomas Sumter August 14, 2014 at 10:51 pm

It’s a free trip to Columbia to watch the Gamecocks play A&M on August 28th. Most of the legislators get special deals on Carolina or Clemson tickets, and then the House pays them a per diem and a stipend to put towards travel and hotel. Pretty obvious to me.

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Lear jet August 15, 2014 at 7:01 am

Since Clemson will not be present your theory is misguided. Perhaps he now knows what Manning is going to do and is preparing to resign with hopes that his resignation will help him avoid prison.

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Thomas Sumter August 15, 2014 at 7:30 am

never said Clemson is playing. Just saying legislators have access to Clemson and Carolina tickets. One of the perks of the job, my friend.

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Lear jet August 15, 2014 at 2:23 pm

“most of the legislators” implies that most of the legislators are Gamecock fans since you were suggesting that the special session is designed to just get them to Cola for free. I would suggest otherwise therefore the incentive that you imagine would only benefit roughly half of the body thereby rendering it a flawed theory. Half could give a flip about that game.

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shifty henry August 15, 2014 at 8:43 am

resign? — just send an email…

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The Colonel August 15, 2014 at 8:52 am

Would that it were true…

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jimlewisowb August 15, 2014 at 3:20 pm

Don’t really understand why some of you are busting TS’s balls over his post

First off, the son of bitches would take a free ride on the Hindenburg
Second, it doesn’t matter whether Carolina, Clemson or the Star Gospel Mission is taking the field – free tickets, free booze, free food and some coed bubble butt to grope is their calling card
Third, any poster on this site who attempts or even attempts to justify the existence of any goddamn legislator cockroach ought to have a glowing red hot railroad spike shoved up their ass

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Thomas August 14, 2014 at 10:57 pm

Check out this live feed from Ferguson, MO…LoL

http://rt.com/on-air/ferguson-protest-police-conflict/

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Native Ink August 15, 2014 at 8:52 am

Off topic, but I agree with you. You should also see the video on the Washington Post website which labels all the military hardware the cops were using. Crazy stuff.

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The Colonel August 15, 2014 at 9:03 am

I don’t have a problem with the police having an armored vehicle but mounting it with armaments like a machine gun seems more than a little excessive to me.
The LRAD mentioned in the WP article (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/08/14/the-pentagon-gave-nearly-half-a-billion-dollars-of-military-gear-to-local-law-enforcement-last-year/ ) is a crowd control device that can be used to issue instructions in an emergency or as a riot control device (it can emit an extremely unpleasant tone). The LRAD probably should be held by the state police rather than every podunk police and sheriffs office in the state. The camo uniforms need to go in favor of a plain blue police uniform. Helmets, vests and shields are appropriate as long as the police force isn’t backed up with machine guns and (real) grenade launchers.
If all those guys in camo with full on military gear are regular policemen, Ferguson obviously has some real problems – it not, Ferguson’s SWAT team budget needs to be cut by 90%.

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Smirks August 15, 2014 at 11:06 am

LRAD is too expensive, if you’re looking for an extremely unpleasant tone just crank up a Justin Bieber CD to max volume.

(May not work if rioters are 10-12 year old girls.)

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shifty henry August 15, 2014 at 11:59 am

Themes from–
1>.. Gilligan’s Island
2>.. Chips

The Colonel August 15, 2014 at 12:57 pm

LRAD is worth every dime. I’ve seen it used a couple of times, even with multiple layers of hearing protection it is painful to be around. It’s been used successfully to deter pirates, break up riots and as a loud speaker in emergency situations. One of the few “alternative non-lethal weapons” that lives up to it’s billing.
As for the Biebs, anything at any audible volume would send me packing but I still hum the theme from Gilligan’s Island…

TontoBubbaGoldstein August 15, 2014 at 5:23 pm

It’s been used successfully to deter pirates,…

ARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!

dm10ae August 15, 2014 at 1:44 am

The legislators get a flat rate instead of the per diem after the general session-like $250 per day.

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Tomocchio August 15, 2014 at 6:04 am

Sometimes I wear panties to work.

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jimlewisowb August 15, 2014 at 8:25 am

Tried that one time

Ran off the road twice, clipped a mailbox and smacked the crap out of a squirrel

Found it near to impossible to drive straight with my knees and both hands in my crotch

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The Colonel August 15, 2014 at 8:50 am

There’s a mental image I’ll spend the rest of the day trying to get rid of…

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Crotch rubbing while driving August 15, 2014 at 9:14 am

“Found it near to impossible to drive straight with my knees and both hands in my crotch”

My father was a master at driving with his knees while eating a Burger King burger, granted, this was like 35 years ago or so, but thought I’d pass along that helpful tip so that you might find happiness.

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shifty henry August 15, 2014 at 3:05 pm

The steering wheels (without power assist) were bigger then — would have been easier then.

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nitrat August 15, 2014 at 8:43 am

“Others suggest Harrell may be using the special session as an excuse to “count votes” in advance of this year’s Speaker’s election.”
All the legislators whining about Bobby Harrell…they are his voters, his constituents; they can retire him as speaker anytime they get the balls to do it.

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shifty henry August 15, 2014 at 8:44 am

Yes, this would certainly be an excellent example of doing the “people’s business”……

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Native Ink August 15, 2014 at 8:50 am

It just sounds like bad management (from Harrell). If these vetoes had not been dealt with at the end of the session, why not work late one night and get it done then?

If the taxpayers have to pay $40,000 because Harrell has poor management skills, then that’s another black mark on his reputation. Of course at this point, there’s not much clear space left on it for another mark.

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Jail Bird Harrell August 15, 2014 at 1:09 pm

Judge Casey Manning is intentionally foot dragging on the Harrell case.
The entire state has determined that Harrell must be prosecuted in Federal court and sent to prison. Will Manning be joining Harrell? Maybe even Toad herself? We all know the feds have been spying on them all for quite some time. And they think they haven’t … ROFLMAO!

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Rocky August 15, 2014 at 3:18 pm

Well – it ain’t for the comfortable temps of Columbia in late August – that’s fer shur.

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