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South Carolina ‘Republicans’ Delay Vote On Controversial Rules Change

Blistered by grassroots pressure, GOP establishment retreats on attempt to muzzle its conservative members …

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A day after they advanced a rules change aimed at muzzling conservative members through one of their rubber-stamp committees, “Republican” leaders in the GOP-controlled South Carolina House of Representatives thought better of the idea – and declined to introduce the controversial measure on the floor of the chamber.

“For now,” one State House insider told us.

Meanwhile, conservative lawmakers are rallying grassroots opposition to the establishment’s heavy-handed procedural move – with several of their leaders expected to address it at a press conference early next week.

According to our sources, GOP leaders waffled in the face of intense grassroots pressure against the measure – which would silence conservative lawmakers while awarding expanded (and unearned) power to leaders of the Democratic minority.

To recap: Two days ago our media outlet exclusively reported on the proposed rules change, which would effectively prohibit individual members of the S.C. House from introducing amendments to bills being debated on the floor. Instead, under the new system current GOP majority leader Davey Hiott and his Democratic counterpart, Todd Rutherford, would have equal control over the limited number of amendments which would be introduced.

Any amendment not to their liking would be ruled out of order – and summarily dismissed without a vote.



The proposed rules change would effectively eliminate the ability of the S.C. Freedom Caucus to reshape legislation in ways more favorable to citizens and taxpayers – and more in keeping with the stated principles of the Republican party. It would also grant disproportionate procedural power to Democrats, who occupy only 35 of the 124 seats in the chamber.

Nonetheless, GOP lawmakers pushed this proposed change – H. 4735 – out of their rules committee on Wednesday afternoon (January 10, 2024) by an overwhelming margin. In fact, only one member of the rules committee – state representative Kathy Landing of Mount Pleasant, S.C. – voted against it.

With the bill hurtling toward the House floor, I penned a column yesterday criticizing House leaders for being “spinelessly deceptive … or, deceptively spineless, take your pick.”

“Uniparty leaders aren’t trying to maximize legislative efficiency, they are seeking to minimize their exposure to embarrassing floor votes that could cost them support back home during an election year,” I noted. “If they can keep conservatives – notably members of the S.C. Freedom Caucus – from forcing recorded votes on amendments they would rather not deal with, they can go home to their constituents and pretend to have represented their interests as opposed to what they are actually doing, which is stabbing them in the back.”

I further designated any floor vote on this measure as the first “litmus test” vote of the 2024 session.

“Any lawmaker who sponsors this measure or supports it – procedurally or with their ‘aye’ vote – is endorsing a uniparty conspiracy aimed at suppressing our state’s representative democracy,” I wrote. “As such, we will encourage them to be challenged – and defeated – in the upcoming 2024 election cycle.”

(Click to View)

House Speaker Murrell Smith during the first day of session in Columbia, S.C. on Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2024. (Travis Bell/STATEHOUSE CAROLINA)

I also specifically called out S.C. House speaker Murrell Smith for “being more interested in playing games than actually engaging in a debate over why his supermajority can’t seem to allow conservatives a voice in state governance.”

Of course, such tactics are hardly surprising coming from GOP leaders who kicked conservatives out of their caucus last year for refusing to sign a “loyalty oath” to the establishment – and who are running dark money attacks and trying to bribe challengers to run against Freedom Caucus members in the upcoming 2024 primary election.

Gotta keep that special interest gravy train rolling, right?

My media outlet wasn’t alone in sounding the alarm on this proposal. Numerous grassroots groups banded together in opposition to the rules change – accusing the “establishment leadership” in the House of threatening to silence “hundreds of thousands of South Carolinians and their state representatives.”

Blasting GOP leaders for “stripping power from the people and handing it to a select few,” Evan Newman of the State Freedom Caucus Network called the proposed rule “a downright dangerous step towards authoritarianism.”

“The consequences of such a power imbalance are chilling,” Newman said. “We can only imagine the loss to our state with having our concerns, our needs, our very voices ignored or dismissed – not because they lack merit, but because they don’t align with the special interests and lobbyists who control the establishment. This is the future these new rules pave the way for – a future where our voice and our vote as a South Carolinian might matter less than ever.”

Conservative lawmakers reportedly plan to address the proposed rules change at a press conference this coming Tuesday (January 16, 2024) at the S.C. State House. The press conference was initially called to unveil the Freedom Caucus’ 2024 legislative agenda, but sources familiar with the gathering say caucus chairman Adam Morgan – who is running for the U.S. congress this spring – will discuss the rules proposal in detail at the event.

Meanwhile, there is no word on whether – or when – GOP leaders will attempt to bring the rules change to the floor for a vote.



(Travis Bell Photography)

Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina and before that he was a bass guitarist and dive bar bouncer. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven (soon to be eight) children.



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Losers gonna lose January 11, 2024 at 6:32 pm

The MAGA loons hold the GQP hostage once again. Thank god Trump has destroyed the Republican party from within. And now that that goal is almost complete, we get watch trump go to prison and his fraud of a business “empire” dissolved by the courts.

Too bad we have to wait all the way till Jan 2o25 for Democrats to have the White House, the Senate and House under control.

CongareeCatfish Top fan January 12, 2024 at 9:28 am

….and then the communist front democrats will once and for all crush the middle class, which has been the primary bulwark against the marxist movement going back about a hundred years. Then our society will be comprised of the radical maoist elites at the top and the newly-impoverished citizenry. For a time the elite democrats will be able to control the masses because we will all be living hand-to-mouth in grinding poverty, Venezuala-style. If you don’t extole the regime, you won’t be able to eat, live in your house, or even have a bank account. When the masses start to riot because the nation is bankrupt and the “free everything” programs collapse, the radical elites will then turn on their rich leftist acolytes and “cull” them for show – as was done in the USSR, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, the former soviet eastern block, and Cuba. And idiots like you will be wondering why loyal comrades to the cause like yourself are being rounded up to go to the gulag. You probably never knew that no -one has killed more loyal communist foot soldiers than other communists despots at the top, like Stalin and Hitler did.

CongareeCatfish Top fan January 12, 2024 at 9:31 am

correction: Mao, not Hitler.


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