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ISSUE 10.25
Jun. 25, 2011

RECENT ISSUES:
12/04 | 11/27 | 11/20 | 11/13

Index

News :
That sinking feeling
Legislative Agenda :
Three days to go
Radar Screen :
TRAC's second life
Palmetto Politics :
Done deal: Budget and education
Commentary :
The numbers tell a story of challenges
Spotlight :
S.C. Association of Counties
My Turn :
AT&T and T-Mobile: Good for consumers and SC
Feedback :
Learn more about peaches
Scorecard :
Two ups, three downs
Stegelin :
Here's the sausage
Number of the Week :
$6,000,000,000
Megaphone :
Fish or cut bait
Encyclopedia :
Journalist, segregationist helped bring on two-party system

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NUMBER OF THE WEEK

$6,000,000,000

That’s a much more robust General Fund budget for legislators and the governor to be fighting over, compared to last year’s recession-addled $5 billion projection.

MEGAPHONE

Fish or cut bait

“If I think we’ve got an impasse and we can’t agree on anything, the best thing to do … is to turn it off.”

-- Senate President Pro Tempore Glenn McConnell (R-Charleston), on his apparent plan to quash further debate on redistricting U.S. Congressional boundaries, if the Senate continued to squabble next week like it squabbled this week. More.

ENCYCLOPEDIA

Journalist, segregationist helped bring on two-party system

Journalist and author William Douglas Workman Jr. was born on August 10, 1914, in Greenwood, the son of William D. Workman and Vivian Watkins. Following his 1935 graduation from the Citadel, he was a reporter for the News and Courier in Charleston. On June 10, 1939, he married Rhea Thomas of Walterboro. They had two children. Workman entered the U.S. Army in 1941 and was on active duty for five years during World War II.

After military service, Workman returned to the News and Courier and was the paper’s Columbia-based capital correspondent from 1946 until 1962. By the late 1950s, as a result of his reporting on government, politics, and racial issues throughout the South; his widely syndicated columns; and his frequent appearances as a television commentator, his name recognition in the state was so great that his newspaper byline was simply his initials, “W.D.W.” His conservative political attitudes were similarly known, especially with the 1960 publication of his first book, “The Case for the South,” which asserted his own views of the constitutionality and wisdom of maintaining racial segregation in the southern states.

In 1962 leaders of the state’s fledgling Republican Party, especially J. Drake Edens Jr., persuaded Workman to run as a Republican for the U.S. Senate seat held by Democrat Olin D. Johnston. South Carolina Republicans had only rarely nominated candidates for local office, much less statewide. Johnston, a staunch segregationist, was not directly vulnerable on the race issue. Consequently, Workman painted him as a supporter of President John F. Kennedy and intimated that a vote for Johnston was a vote for the invasion of Mississippi by federal troops. Johnston held on to win the election, but Workman’s remarkable forty-four percent of the vote was a clear sign that the Republican Party in South Carolina had become a viable force.

Workman returned to journalistic duties when he joined the editorial department of the Columbia State in 1963, and he served as the paper’s editor from 1966 to 1972. He remained with the State until his retirement in 1979. In 1982 Workman, to the surprise of friends and contrary to the advice of his 1962 campaign manager, Drake Edens, announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination for governor to face the Democratic governor Richard W. Riley. Suffering from a mild form of Parkinson’s disease, Workman waged a lackluster campaign in which he acknowledged that there were few issues. Riley was overwhelmingly reelected, and Workman failed to win any of the state’s forty-six counties.

The 1982 contest marked Workman’s final quest for office, and thereafter his progressive illness began to worsen. He died in Greenville on November 23, 1990, and was buried in Greenlawn Memorial Park in Columbia. His obituary in the State called Workman “a singular influence in establishing a two-party political system in the state.”

-- Excerpted from the entry by Neil D. Thigpen. To read more about this or 2,000 other entries about South Carolina, check out The South Carolina Encyclopedia by USC Press. (Information used by permission.)

IN OUR OTHER PUBLICATIONS

Check these out

If you want to read some good news and views involving Charleston, take a look at CharlestonCurrents.com, our sister publication.  In the most recent issue, you'll learn from a Special Olympics volunteer why it's time to stop using the "R" word and from columnist Andy Brack about how SC and Kansas are similar. 
 
If you want to get the latest daily news about South Carolina, consider SCClips.com.

PALMETTO PRIORITIES

Palmetto Priorities Statehouse Report encourages state leaders to develop and implement Palmetto Priorities involving several issues to make the state better a better place. Click the link to learn more about our suggestions for bipartisan policy objectives.

Here is a summary of our Palmetto Priorities:

CORRECTIONS: Reduce the prison population by 25 percent by 2020.

EDUCATION: Cut the state's dropout rate in half by 2020.

ELECTIONS: Increase voter registration to 75 percent by 2015.

ENVIRONMENT: Adopt a state energy policy that requires energy producers to generate 20 percent of energy from renewable sources by 2020.

ETHICS: Overhaul state ethics laws.

HEALTH CARE: Ensure affordable and accessible health care.

JOBS: Develop a Cabinet-level post to add, retain 10,000 small business jobs per year.

POLITICS: Have a vigorous two- or multi-party political system of governance.

ROADS: Strengthen all bridges and upgrade state roads by 2015.

SAFETY: Cut the state's violent crime rate by one-third by 2016.

TAX REFORM: Remove outdated special interest sales tax exemptions as part of an overall reform of the state's tax structure to be completed by 2014.

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News

That sinking feeling

Legislative graveyard about to have some new residents

By Bill Davis, senior editor

JUNE 25, 2011 -- A Bermuda Triangle of legislation has formed in the Statehouse that could sink each of its three stubborn corners.

And with hours marking the time left in a special sine die session, one misstep could mean no one corner getting what it wants.

House Democrats want early voting, a proposal to allow people to vote before election day potentially to encourage more participation, to be passed as a rejoinder to the GOP’s successful passage of voter I.D. legislation.

Senate Republicans want a bill passed that would create a new state Department of Administration (DoA), which would give more oversight of more agencies to the executive branch.

And Gov. Nikki Haley is still pushing for a new, additional sine die resolution so that more of her legislative agenda – beyond creating a Department of Administration – can be considered this coming week.

But, each side has become entrenched. Without some give and take, nothing is going to happen.

That could result next week in the end of a relatively unconstructive special June session, as the Senate is close to derailing over creating new federal congressional districts and boundaries. Still up for consideration: Lawmakers still have to deal with gubernatorial budget vetoes due Tuesday.

Trey Walker, Haley’s legislative liaison, said the governor has “already laid out a path to victory for all parties.”

Haley wants the Senate to move on a new sine die resolution, which would clear the way for the Senate to get its DoA, so it would then give in and allow for an early voting measure to be passed.

But, the problem with that plan, according to leadership in the House and Senate, Haley may have killed the deal by pressing earlier in the session for the end of debate on early voting.

The House, according to leadership in both chambers, voted earlier to allow for photo I.D. legislation – replete with a host of amendments - with the understanding that the Senate would push for early voting.

Some legislators had expressed hope that early voting would offset some of the disenfranchisement that would be caused by requiring older minority voters to show photo identification at polling sites.

Unfortunately, cloture, a procedural maneuver, in the Senate during debate on early voting ended up closing the matter, and left Democrats in both chambers, understandably according to all interviewed, angry.

It had been thought that Senate Democrats would lead the charge for crafting a compromise with the House on early voting to make sure DoA would be a reality this session. One of the leading Senate Democrats, Vincent Sheheen of Camden, had made the DoA a pillar in his unsuccessful gubernatorial bid last year against Haley.

Walker said the anger over the procedural maneuver that stalled early voting “was old news.” Apparently it’s not old news, as it continues to inform and direct policy in the legislature.

Sheheen reported this week that instead of working for a legislative win on DoA, the deal was, pun intended, “dead on arrival.”

Sheheen said that he has decided to side with his Democratic colleagues in the Senate and not fight for DoA this session, saying it can be taken up next January when the legislature reconvenes.

Sheheen said the machinations surrounding early voting was more proof that Republicans in the Statehouse were more interested in making political points than passing important legislation.

“For the past seven months, we’ve been dealing with laws that will move South Carolina more behind, rather than forward,” said Sheheen.

Senate President Pro Tempore Glenn McConnell (R-Charleston), echoed the sentiments of several of his Republican colleagues, saying that while he doesn’t agree with how the Senate Democrats are dealing with the situation, he understands their anger.

McConnell said a foe other than hurt feelings and political distrust posed a bigger threat to the governor and the House and Senate getting their end-of-session plums.

Time.

The number of hours left to deal with redistricting and expected gubernatorial vetoes in the Statehouse, according to Harrell and McConnell, will mean that early voting, DoA, and Haley’s wanted restructuring, will go unresolved.

“There’s only so much you can send down a funnel as it narrows toward the end,” agreed Walker.

Crystal ball: Crystal balls are supposed to look into the future. This time, this crystal ball brings out the wisdom of the past. The legislature tends to introduce big items in the first year of a two-year session, which is what 2011 is. And then finish them off in the second year, which is what 2012 will be, as well as an election year in both the House and Senate. Long story short: look for a limited agenda next week comprised of vetoes and redistricting, with leftover items topping the list next January.

Bill Davis, editor of Statehouse Report, can be reached at:  editor@statehousereport.com.

Legislative Agenda

Three days to go

The legislature will return to Columbia for the final three days of its special sine die resolution session to deal with redistricting and gubernatorial vetoes. Budget vetoes are expected Tuesday night. A delicate political dance in the back halls of power will decide if some of Gov. Nikki Haley’s requested agenda items will be tackled next week.

If all sides remain entrenched, look for Department of Administration, tort reform, and restructuring to top off the beginning of next year’s legislative agenda.

Radar Screen

TRAC's second life

House Speaker Bobby Harrell (R-Charleston) said this week that a select 18-member GOP Caucus committee will begin meeting soon to look into how to implement the information churned up in last year’s Taxation Realignment Committee report. The report, crafted by a blue-ribbon panel, has been largely gathering dust during this legislative session, but, according to Harrell, will begin to play a bigger policy-shaping role in next year’s session.

Palmetto Politics

Done deal: Budget and education

The Senate agreed to the House’s $6 billion budget plan in the late hours Wednesday evening in such a way that appears to have cost public K-12 education tens of millions of dollars.

But on second glance, the deal will probably go further to protect education funding, when it agreed to put $146 million of an additional $210 million in projected tax revenues toward paying down what the state owes the federal government for underwriting the state’s bankrupt unemployment office for two years.

Here’s why the deal works: The Senate wanted to put $100 million, roughly an even split, into education and unemployment debt relief. But – and admittedly, this gets a bit wonky – it included the amount as a proviso. The House did it as part of the education funding line. The Senate agreed to the lesser amount for education because its members knew that a proviso, a special spending section, would be a prime veto target for Gov. Nikki Haley. But by lumping it into the line, which Haley would have to veto in toto, it protected it. Why? Because, vetoing the entire education line would close schools. So, the budget deal, which Haley has until midnight Tuesday to sign or issue vetoes, was a win- (some-not-lose-as-much)-win for public education.

Redistricting blues

Every decade, state government has to redraw its political boundaries, in response to U.S. Census data. But, it looks like it might a while before the legislature, particularly the Senate, will be able to accomplish that feat. The big fight centers on whether to split Greenville or Spartanburg counties into two different congressional districts.

Yes, there are some squabbles about the final boundaries of the to-be-created 7th Congressional District. But the fight between state senators from those two counties may see that chamber give up on drawing those federal lines and leaving it up to a federal panel. Comments made by Senate President Glenn McConnell (R-Charleston) to The State shows that he wouldn’t let debate, or infighting, continue for long next week.

New guide
 
The Jim Self Center on the Future has a new revised edition of "Local Governments and Home Rule in South Carolina:  A Citizen's Guide" that offers an overview into the structural, fiscal and legislative aspects of how local governments work within the provisions of the state constitution.  For this and other guides, go to:  http://selfcenter.clemson.edu.
Commentary

The numbers tell a story of challenges

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher

JUNE 25, 2011 – Over the last three years, life in South Carolina has gotten slightly – but not significantly – better if you look at the latest demographic statistics.

Despite some slight improvements, the state continues to have big challenges in education, health care, poverty and crime. Fortunately, we're not on the very bottom of most lists, as highlighted below:

FIRST. South Carolina continues to lead the nation in violent crime, according to a 2011 Census report based on 2007 data. Domestic violence – the number of women killed by men – has dropped from seventh worst to ninth worst at 1.69 deaths per 100,000, according to the Violence Policy Center.

SECOND. South Carolina ranked second worst in its SAT scores in 2010, according to the Commonwealth Foundation. While this is a slight drop, this measure is questionable because 18 of the 20 states with the best rates had participation rates of 7 percent or less, while 66 percent of South Carolina's students took the test. In other words, the cream of the crop in the best states took the SAT, while a majority of South Carolina's students did, which means comparisons are apples to oranges. On a better note, South Carolina's teachers ranked best in the nation in teacher quality, according to Education Week magazine in 2010.

FOURTH. The state ranks fourth worst in the percentage of babies born prematurely, the same ranking as a couple of years back. But in an encouraging trend, the rate – 14.3 percent – is improved by 1.3 percent, according to a March of Dimes study.

FIFTH. South Carolina shows up fifth highest on three health measures:

  • Infant mortality. The rate is 8.6 infants per 1,000 infants dying, according to 2007 data. Earlier, the state ranked fourth highest.

  • Low birthweight babies. Some 10.1 percent of Palmetto State babies are born with low weights, according to a 2010 report from the National Center for Health Statistics.

  • Stroke. The state continues to rank fifth highest in stroke, but the death rate has gone from 58.5 victims to 57.6 victims per 100,000 people, according to the American Heart Association.

SIXTH. The state is the sixth worst place in the country for kids to grow up in, according to a 2010 KidsCount report. Still, that's an improvement over the #5 ranking from two years ago.

SEVENTH. The state comes in seventh twice:

  • Child deaths. South Carolina has the seventh highest rate of child deaths at 25 per 100,000 children. That's four slots worse than a couple of years ago, according to KidsCount.

  • Unemployment. In May, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, South Carolina had a 10 percent unemployment rate, almost twice what it was three years ago, but still better than just a few months back.

EIGHTH. The state is eighth on two big measures:

  • Tobacco prevention. SC is tied for eighth in how much money it spent on tobacco prevention ($3.2 million a year, according to a June 2010 report from the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids.) The good news? We used to be first. And the state's cigarette tax (57 cents per pack) is no longer the lowest in the nation, which averages $1.34 per pack.

  • Diabetes. Some 10 percent of South Carolina adults have been told they have diabetes, the eighth highest average, according to a recent report by the Trust for America's Health.

NINTH. The Palmetto State ranks ninth in two ways:

  • Obesity. Slightly under 30 percent of South Carolina's adults are obese. That's better than the #7 ranking from two years ago. Then, however, 28.4 percent of residents were obese. (More.)

  • Poverty. Some 15.7 percent of individuals in South Carolina live in poverty, tied with Alabama, according to 2011 Census data. But 22 percent of the state's children live in poverty, according KidsCount – the 11th highest number in the country.

Just about any way you cut the numbers, South Carolina still has a long way to go. Policymakers should take note.

Andy Brack is publisher of Statehouse Report and can be reached at: brack@statehousereport.com.

Spotlight

S.C. Association of Counties

The public spiritedness of our underwriters allows us to bring Statehouse Report to you at no cost. This week's featured underwriter is the South Carolina Association of Counties. The SCAC was chartered on June 22, 1967, and is the only organization dedicated to statewide representation of county government in South Carolina. Membership includes all 46 counties, which are represented by elected and appointed county officials who are dedicated to improving county government. SCAC is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that operates with a full-time staff in its Columbia offices. It is governed by a 29-member Board of Directors composed of county officials from across South Carolina. The Association strives to “Build Stronger Counties for Tomorrow” by working with member counties in the fields of research, information exchange, educational promotion and legislative reporting. More: http://www.sccounties.org.
My Turn

AT&T and T-Mobile: Good for consumers and SC

By Pamela Lackey
AT&T
Special to Statehouse Report

JUNE 25, 2011 – From the Upstate to the Lowcountry and across the Midlands, South Carolinians are connecting more often and doing more with their wireless devices than ever before. Whether talking, texting or surfing, we rely on our mobile connections.

That is why AT&T’s acquisition of T-Mobile is great news. It will enable us to keep up with consumer demand while also delivering what consumers want today – fewer dropped calls, faster speeds and access to state-of-the-art mobile broadband Internet service.

Consumers across the nation and here in South Carolina will share in these benefits as the transaction will allow the combined company to build out an advanced new 4G LTE [Long Term Evolution] network and bring state-of-the-art wireless Internet to more than 97 percent of the American population – far more than AT&T alone was planning before the transaction.

Because of our early leadership in smartphones and supporting mobile apps, our company and network have carried the load in data traffic more than any other. To meet this demand, we’ve invested aggressively – more than $675 million in our South Carolina wireless and wireline networks in the past three years alone. This year, we are continuing to enhance the state’s communications infrastructure, such as by adding and upgrading cell sites statewide, as part of the planned $19-billion investment in our national wireless and wireline networks and other capital projects.

But investment alone is not enough to meet the ever-increasing demand. The combination of AT&T and T-Mobile is needed. By allowing more efficient use of existing spectrum and network assets, it will increase overall network capacity beyond what the two companies had separately. In this case, 1+1 equal three.

This combination also addresses another critical issue. Whether living in large cities, small towns or rural communities, people need access to high-speed Internet services. Unfortunately, too many people do not have access to the full capabilities of the mobile Internet economy.  With this merger, AT&T has committed to providing cutting-edge LTE mobile Internet service to nearly 55 million more Americans than previously planned. This will bring many benefits in education, health care and economic development.

LTE will give small-town businesses access to many of the same powerful tools enjoyed by counterparts in major cities. And, rural consumers will particularly benefit from real-time access to a wide range of resources that would not otherwise be as readily available. This will help revolutionize telemedicine, allowing doctors to have real-time interactions with patients remotely and providing much more robust, accurate and immediate assessments of information from monitoring devices and data-intensive tools like MRIs. It also will make distance learning initiatives much more effective.

The U.S. wireless marketplace is the most competitive in the world, and it will remain so following this transaction. Over the past decade, U.S. wireless prices have steadily and dramatically come down, and the combination of AT&T and T-Mobile will allow that trend to continue. The combination will not derail the powerful forces of competition in one of the nation’s most competitive industries.

Certain critics may attempt to create a myth that the transaction threatens competition in the wireless industry, but the truth is the vast majority of South Carolina consumers have a choice of at least five facilities-based wireless providers. Those local competitors often include Sprint, Verizon, and AT&T, but there are many other strong competitors in the marketplace.  Providers like MetroPCS and Cricket, have been competing aggressively and expanding their service areas in South Carolina.  Incumbent cable television and telephone companies such as Time Warner are also offering wireless service to their large customer bases.

In addition, history shows that even as the communications industry has consolidated, prices have declined, rather than increased. According to the U.S. Government Accounting Office, from 1999 to 2008, during a period of several wireless combinations, wireless prices declined 50 percent even as the number and variety of available wireless features and functions available to consumers mushroomed.

AT&T’s acquisition of T-Mobile will deliver the network quality and the new services that customers are demanding.  It will bring more South Carolina families and towns into our high-tech future. And, it will enhance competition and innovation.

Pamela Lackey is the president of AT&T South Carolina.

Feedback

Learn more about peaches

To Statehouse Report:

Thank you for excerpting my section on peaches from the SC Encyclopedia for this recent issue of the Statehouse Report.  If you ever have an interest in sharing more information with your readers about SC peaches, we have a university website dedicated to this purpose.  The url is:


The site is called "Everything About Peaches".  You can find educational videos, FAQ's and lots of other information there that is helpful for everyone from the commercial grower to the peach consumer. 
-- Desmond R. Layne, Ph.D., Clemson University, Clemson, SC
Want to vent a little?   Send us a letter.  Letters are published weekly. We reserve the right to edit for length and clarity. We generally publish all comments about South Carolina politics or policy issues, unless they are libelous or unnecessarily inflammatory. One submission is allowed per month. Submission of a comment grants permission to us to reprint. Comments are limited to 250 words or less.
Scorecard

Two ups, three downs

Cooper. House Ways and Means Dan “Landslide” Cooper (R-Piedmont) is ending his political career next week, but not before he shepherded the House budget through its most trying years in decades. He won approval for the House budget plan by three votes this year. Well done, sir.

Harrell. By not letting the TRAC report languish on the top, dusty shelves of the Statehouse, you'll be doing the state a big favor.
   Reforming the state's antiquated tax structure is not only one of our Palmetto Priorities, it's essential to modernize the state.

Immigration. The legislature has passed yet another “illegal” immigration bill, and is waiting for Gov. Nikki Haley to sign it into law. The problem is that, like past similar efforts, it may be unconstitutional, do little other than energize the base and increase the likelihood of racial profiling (e.g. Hispanic vs. Canadian).

Special ed. State education cuts to special education programs could now cost the state an additional $111 million in federal funding because those cuts were made without Washington D.C.’s approval. More.

Byars. Judge Bill Byars, recently named as head of the state’s deficit-running Department of Corrections, suffered a mild stroke this week. We wish you a speedy recovery. More.

Stegelin

Here's the sausage


Also from Stegelin:  6/17 | 6/10 | 6/3 | 5/27
credits

Statehouse Report

Editor and Publisher: Andy Brack
Senior Editor: Bill Davis
Contributing Photographer: Michael Kaynard

Phone: 843.670.3996

© 2002 - 2018 , Statehouse Report LLC. Statehouse Report is published every Friday by Statehouse Report LLC, PO Box 22261, Charleston, SC 29413.
Excerpts from The South Carolina Encyclopedia are published with permission and copyrighted 2006 by the Humanities Council SC. Excerpts were edited by Walter Edgar and published by the University of South Carolina Press. Statehouse Report has partnered with USC Press to provide readers with this interesting weekly historical excerpt about the state. Republication is not allowed. For additional information about Statehouse Report, including information on underwriting, go to http://www.statehousereport.com/.