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ISSUE 10.48
Dec. 02, 2011

RECENT ISSUES:
8/15 | 8/08 | 8/01 | 7/25

Index

News :
Planting S.C.’s future
Legislative Agenda :
Slow going on meetings
Radar Screen :
SmartState conference next week
Palmetto Politics :
Portal of intrigue
Commentary :
Haley needs a real kitchen cabinet
Spotlight :
South Carolina Hospital Association
Feedback :
Want to vent? Have a policy proposal?
Scorecard :
What's up and down in SC
Stegelin :
Digging a hole
Number of the Week :
$11.4 million
Megaphone :
Thin excuse
Tally Sheet :
Dozens of bills pre-filed this week
Encyclopedia :
State insect is a "praying" predator
In our other publications :
Learn more about Charleston and SC

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EDITOR'S NOTE

Tally sheet is back

In this issue, our Tally Sheet returns to offer summaries of the most important bills pre-filed over the past week.  Take a look below in this column to see new legislative priorities added to the list left over from last session.

State of the South

Statehouse Report publisher Andy Brack, in his role as president of a nonpartisan think tank, discussed the Southern economy and demographics Monday on an appearance on "Your Day" on SCETV Radio.  Click here to listen to the conversation between Brack and Dr. Bob Becker of the Strom Thumond Institute and Donna London of the Jim Self Institute for the Future.

NUMBER OF THE WEEK

$11.4 million

That’s the amount in new spending from the lottery – yes, NEW spending this year in South Carolina, crazy, huh? – that has been approved to be given toward programs in three different state agencies. More.

MEGAPHONE

Thin excuse

“[W]ith great respect for you and your colleagues on the Committee, we believe that our appearance would be unprecedented and inconsistent with our government’s basic separation-of-powers principles.”

-- Gov. Nikki Haley’s Chief of Staff Tim Pearson, giving another reason staffers won’t respond to a Senate panel request to speak at a Friday meeting looking into the contentious decision to grant a permit to Georgia to deepen the shared Savannah River. More.

TALLY SHEET

Dozens of bills pre-filed this week

Here's a summary of the major bills pre-filed in the House and Senate this week:

Assessor. H. 4419 (Toole) calls for a constitutional amendment to provide that county tax assessors shall be elected for four year terms. H. 4422 (Toole) is similar.

Ethics reform. H. 4421 (Ryan) calls for most of the duties of the House and Senate ethics committees to be transferred to the State Ethics Commission, including sitting in judgment of fellow legislators. H. 4430 (Ryan) calls for a constitutional amendment on discipline of legislators accused of ethical misconduct.

Child abuse. H. 4428 (McCoy) would require people to report suspected child abuse, with several other provisions.

Procurement reform. H. 4429 (Ballentine) would require agencies to do a life-cycle cost analysis for all public works projects of more than $1 million, with other procedures related to bidding. S. 1005 (Rose) calls for the state DOT to keep detailed, monthly records of expended funds and to post records online.

Economic incentives. H. 4432 (Viers) calls for the SC Economic Incentive Transparency Act to require any business that wants to locate or expand and receive an incentive to have a separate bill introduced in the General Assembly.

Great day. H. 4433 (King) calls for no state department to have to answer the phone with a greeting of, “It’s a great day in South Carolina,” with several provisions.

Honors. H. 4436 (Gilliard) calls for no state building, road or similar infrastructure to be named for a living person. H. 4496 (Ryan) is similar but more restrictive.

DUI change. H. 4438 (Rutherford) would keep anyone who took a sobriety test and scored 0.05 percent of alcohol or below from being charged with driving while under the influence of alcohol. H. 4449 (Lucas) calls for video recording of breath tests in traffic stops to end if a person refuses to take the test.

Caylee’s Law. H. 4422 (Bingham) would make it illegal for a legal caregiver to fail to report a death or disappearance of a child. H. 4460 (G.R. Smith) and S. 1019 (Lourie) are similar.

DOT reform. H. 4444 (Lucas) would eliminate the Board of the Department of Transportation and make it a Cabinet agency led by a Secretary of Transportation; includes dozens of provisions.

Mopeds. H. 4448 (Huggins) calls for regulation of mopeds, including licensing of drivers, and several provisions.

No cell phones when driving. H. 4451 (Bowen) would make it unlawful to use an electronic communication device while driving, with several provisions.

No county school boards. H. 4452 (Bowen) calls for abolition of all county boards of education by 2013 and to devolve powers to trustees of local school districts in the county.

End of TERI. H. 4453 (Bowen) calls for the end of the Teacher and Employee Retention Incentive program. H. 4479 (D. Moss) is similar.

Drug tests. H. 4458 (Viers) calls for applicants for need-based programs, such as Medicaid and Food Stamps, to pass a drug test before receiving benefits.

Cell search. H. 4459 (G.R. Smith) would prohibit law enforcement officers from searching from cell phones during an arrest without a warrant or permission of the person being detained, with several provisions.

Home invasions. H. 4470 (Gilliard) would enact the “Home Invasion and Drive-By Shooting Accountability and Protection Act,” with several provisions and penalties.

Bath salts. H. 4471 (Huggins) would classify “bath salts” as illegal drugs. S. 1005 (Cromer) is similar.

Judicial elections. H. 4472 (Delleney) sets Feb. 1, 2012, to next elect judges.

Health care. H. 4477 (Pitts) calls for a constitutional amendment to prohibit government health mandates, with several provisions.

Legislative retirement. H. 4481 (Ryan) is a complicated bill that essentially seeks to close the General Assembly’s retirement system for an optional retirement program, with several provisions.

Certificates of need. S. 999 (Peeler) would abolish DHEC’s health facility certificate of need program, with several complicated provisions.

School bonds. S. 1010 (Verdin) would prohibit school districts from issuing general obligation bonds for general operating expenses.

Privacy. S. 1011 (Verdin) calls for a constitutional amendment to keep health information private.

  • To view all of the House pre-filed bills, go here.
  • To view all of the Seante pre-filed bills, click here.
Senators will have another chance to pre-file bills on Monday.  House members will pre-file again on Tuesday.

ENCYCLOPEDIA

State insect is a "praying" predator

The Carolina mantid (Stagmomantis carolina) became the state insect by a law approved by Gov. Carroll Campbell on June 1, 1988. The legislators recognized the mantis as "a beneficial insect" found throughout the state and declared it to be "a perfect specimen of living science" for schoolchildren.

The Carolina species is the mantis most commonly found in the United States, ranging from New Jersey, southern New York, and Indiana south to Florida and west to Texas. It is brown or green, and adults measure from two to two and one-quarter inches in length. Like all mantises, the state insect is called a "praying mantis," from the way it holds up its enormous front legs, as if in an attitude of prayer. In fact, the forelegs jerk out to seize prey that the mantis eats. The name "mantis" means "diviner" and was given to the insect by ancient Greeks, who believed that it possessed supernatural powers. The earliest known fossil mantises date from 25 million to 36 million years ago.

The Carolina mantid is a predator that eats virtually any insects it can catch, so it serves as a natural biological control agent. Its prey can include other mantises, and the females are famous for connubial cannibalism, often devouring their male partners after mating. They are harmless to humans. During legislative debate on the bill, Representative Derwood L. Aydlette, Jr., of Charleston humorously proposed designating instead the palmetto bug (cockroach), as a protest against legislative time and expense "involved in having all these little state symbols."

-- Excerpted from the entry by David C.R. Heisser. 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

Learn more about Charleston and SC

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 can learn what's happening during the holidays at Magnolia Plantation andGardens, about eco-tours in the Lowcountry, an oral history project, kitchen safety tips and much, much more.

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

Planting S.C.’s future

Hitt, Commerce focusing on manufacturing jobs

By Bill Davis, senior editor

DEC. 2, 2011 – State Secretary of Commerce Bobby Hitt is resolute in his belief that more manufacturing jobs are the key to growing the state’s economic future.

But what kind of economy will it be growing?

This week, speaking in his hometown of Charleston, Hitt rattled off an impressive list of new manufacturing jobs that have been announced in South Carolina over the past year.

The most recent was a textile company that is building a new $150,000 plant in Barnwell County. It will employ 120 people. But that pales in comparison to announcements earlier this year by two tire companies -- Continental and Bridgestone -- collectively to invest $1.7 billion and create 2,550 new jobs. These investments, plus expansions by Michelin in the state, could eventually lead to South Carolina becoming the nation’s largest tiremaker, Hitt said.

“Manufacturing is going to save this region,” said Hitt, a former BMW executive. He added that South Carolina could be at the forefront with its limited union presence and the loyalty state workers have shown to their employers.

Hitt called the manufacturing sector the “brightest spot in the state’s economy,” having just enjoyed its first back-to-back months of sector employment growth in 13 years. Additionally, he said manufacturing exports have increase 137 percent over the past 10 years. Add to the mix that the state has announced more than 17,000 new jobs since the beginning of the year.

Hitt also extolled the state’s need to focus on higher education, so that it could, in his words, “pull itself up by the hair.”

After the glad-handing subsided following the Rotary luncheon at which he was speaking, Hitt vigorously defended his agency’s focus.

The secretary was asked whether the state’s focus on manufacturing would cause it to follow the same dead-end path that textiles brought the state to years ago when thousands of jobs moved to foreign countries.

“These are good-paying jobs, $40,000 a year, in South Carolina,” said Hitt, who said his agency couldn’t do as much to help other sectors, like construction, until the nations’ banking woes are solved.

A two-tiered future?

Not only did Hitt’s Rotary speech avoid hot button topics of the past gubernatorial campaign of supporting small business and developing a knowledge-based, green economy, but also recent literature in the field of economics has brought up the concern that pursuing such a two-front campaign – higher education and plant floor jobs – could hasten what has been termed “employment polarization.”

ECONOMIC OUTLOOK CONFERENCE

The 31st Annual Economic Outlook Conference at the Darla Moore School of Business will start Wednesday.

It will, through a host of international, national and state business leaders to give a “Prognosis for a Fragile Economy.” Hitt, Woodward and others will speak.
More.

In that case, there would be a thin band of highly educated and highly-paid managers overseeing a host of lower-educated and lower-paid plant workers, and the gulf between the two pay scales would only widen.

USC economist Douglas Woodward later acknowledged the potential of employment polarization, but defended Hitt’s focus.

“Manufacturing may not be the answer to everything, but it makes a lot of sense,” said Woodward, who will be delivering a speech at a USC Darla Moore School of Business next week about “hotspots” in the state’s economy

 “If Commerce is going to focus on something, this is the place to do it,” said Woodward.

Woodward also said that Commerce shouldn’t be expected to do much for small business, which he holds is more of a local issue. He also said that what Commerce could do best for the state was to woo and recruit international investment.

And that is something it has done this year, with big plants announced all over the state, including the “game-changer” by Continental Tire near Sumter and rural counties.

McKinley Blackburn, a fellow economist at the Moore School, worried, though, that a push for higher education and manufacturing investment may not be “complementary.”

Blackburn said that in the future, state that focus on the “services side of the economy” likely will reach the top of the nation’s economic ladder.  States that focused more on manufacturing might not be as competitive.

Hitt said that manufacturing currently makes up 10 percent of the state economy and retail, by comparison, 11 percent.

Crystal ball: Looks like manufacturing will need to grow first, as the state has failed to successfully ape knowledge-based projects like the Research Triangle in North Carolina, or Palo Alto’s computer world. The Triangle has three research universities - Duke, UNC-Chapel Hill and N.C. State – driving its research power. Palo Alto has Stanford, Cal-Berkeley and Cal-Tech is nearby. South Carolina has Innovista, ICAR, Clemson and USC. Not a fair fight. Not yet, at least.

Bill Davis is editor of Statehouse Report.  He can be reached at:  bill@statehousereport.com.

RECENT NEWS
Legislative Agenda

Slow going on meetings

You might find a couple of meetings scheduled for next week to be interesting:

  • Fiscal fitness. A Judiciary subcommittee will host a public hearing on fiscal fitness Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. in the Aiken Tech amphitheater, 2276 Jefferson Davis Highway, and will meet again Wednesday at 1 p.m. in 209 Gressette. More.
  • DHEC. A personnel committee conference call will be held 1 p.m. Monday,. in conference room 3380 of the agency’s headquarters at 2600 Bull St. in Columbia, to discuss the hiring of an agency director.
Radar Screen

SmartState conference next week

The state Centers for Economic Excellence will host the SmartState conference starting Sunday in Charleston with speakers from around the world giving insight into growing a knowledge-based economy. The conference will conclude Tuesday and be held at the Charleston Place hotel. It could presage more efforts toward a more diversified state economy. More.

Palmetto Politics

Portal of intrigue

The fight is getting hotter in Columbia over the Department of Health and Environmental Control board’s decision to issue a water permit to Georgia that could lead to deepening of the shared Savannah River and an expanded port their before a similar project in Charleston.

This week, Gov. Nikki Haley’s chief of staff, Tim Pearson, declined a request for members of her staff to speak to a Senate panel looking into the permitting done by a cabinet agency. (Interestingly, Haley had a press conference on the issue on Monday -- the day before the Senate panel met.)

Pearson, in a letter, offered to have staffers come and speak privately to individual members of the panel on the permitting. In response, the panel is considering subpoenaing staffers.

One elected official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that he and others are especially interested in a supposed meeting that may serve as the linchpin to any gubernatorial meddling. Critics have contended that Haley pushed for the permitting in exchange for fundraising and political reasons.

But on the flip side, what should the state have done? Not permitted the request, potentially opening the door for fewer environmental concessions from Georgia on oxygen levels in the river? Enrage a neighbor state trying to right its own economic ship and set it on a more direct course? If Haley had stood against the permitting, how easy would it have been in the future to get similar efforts going in Charleston with a legislative caucus from Georgia breathing fire in Washington, D.C.? We’ll never know.

Winthrop Poll soon

The next Winthrop Poll will be released Tuesday and will contain the latest results from questions about the looming presidential campaigns, President Obama’s job rating, and other issues.

Commentary

Haley needs a real kitchen cabinet

DEC. 2, 2011 -- President Andrew Jackson had the first “kitchen cabinet” of informal advisers for a good reason -- the regular “parlor cabinet” of executive branch Cabinet secretaries got embroiled in a scandal that tore them apart. 

Eighteen decades ago, Secretary of War John Eaton took a young widow as his wife. But many “respectable” folks, including the wife of Vice President John C. Calhoun of South Carolina, thought the timing of the marriage was too soon after the woman’s first husband died. As the regular Cabinet bickered, Jackson met informally with trusted outside advisers -- sometimes apparently in the White House kitchen, which is where the term came from. Eventually, Jackson cleaned the deck of the regular Cabinet.

Since the days when issues over what “looked right” caused a scandal,  it’s been common practice for major politicians to have a kitchen cabinet of people they trust to advise on public policy -- to bounce ideas off of, to argue, to debate and more. 

According to KillerCampaigning.com, “The best political campaign advice that a candidate receives, though, is often from a small, select group of advisers who serve as a sounding board for ideas and strategies that you’re thinking of implementing on the campaign trail.  This private political campaign team ... usually consists of friends and colleagues whose opinions you admire and trust.”

GOP Gov. Carroll Campbell had about a dozen people who served as an informal kitchen cabinet. About half were seasoned political veterans on his staff. The rest were business people or friends outside official state government channels. It was the same for Democratic Gov. Jim Hodges, who brought a couple of former legislators on staff and had other experienced professionals and friends as a frequent sounding board.

With all of this as a backdrop, it’s pretty clear that current GOP Gov. Nikki Haley might just need a real kitchen cabinet. As best as we --and several GOP and Democratic observers we’ve talked with -- can tell, she may have the smallest, most insular kitchen cabinet of all time -- just her husband and 29-year-old chief of staff. A couple of other folks periodically may be brought in, but we’re told the key decisions are made mostly by Haley and Tim Pearson, her top aide. 

So maybe that’s why the governor, who started off with a bang at the beginning of the year, is having such a hard time in the media, particularly of late. She seems to have been making a lot of decisions that hurt her politically. 

For example, many still reel over how Haley got rid of philanthropist Darla Moore from the USC board earlier this year. She didn’t, they say, need to create headlines by axing the woman who had given millions to the school.

Others point to a business trip to France and Germany, which featured a pricey reception in Paris. While veterans of economic development say the reception made sense and was the way to play the game to land big jobs, the way that Haley talked about it -- and kept talking about it -- turned it into more of a liability than help.

Other decisions caused fallout that might have been avoided if there were a kitchen cabinet to challenge the governor. For example, Haley, who campaigned on accountability and transparency, has been slammed for agreeing to delete staff emails. Seasoned veterans immediately would have seen the inherent problems with such an idea and might have helped the governor make a different decision.

Haley’s been hammered for asking the Mansion chef to bake birthday cakes for staffers and allowing him to use its state kitchen for private catering. And she’s still being excoriated for a decision by the state Department of Health and Environmental Control’s board to allow a dredging permit that will help the state of Georgia’s port.

In some of the choices, Haley may eventually be proved right, but they’ve been implemented immaturely, which has caused the problems. So all of this adds up to one thing: The governor needs to get more political advice and expand the tent to get more input on policy alternatives. Continuing to circle the wagons won’t make her more effective --  just when that’s what we need.

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

Spotlight

South Carolina Hospital Association

The public spiritedness of our underwriters allows us to bring Statehouse Report to you at no cost. This week's spotlighted underwriter is the South Carolina Hospital Association, the Palmetto State's foremost advocate on healthcare issues affecting South Carolinians. The mission of SCHA is to support its members in addressing the healthcare needs of South Carolina through advocacy, education, networking and regulatory assistance.

Founded in 1921, the South Carolina Hospital Association is the leadership organization and principal advocate for the state’s hospitals and health care systems. Based in Columbia, SCHA works with its members to improve access, quality and cost-effectiveness of health care for all South Carolinians. The state’s hospitals and health care systems employ more than 70,000 persons statewide. SCHA's credo: We are stronger together than apart. To learn more about SCHA and its mission, go to: http://www.scha.org.
Feedback

Want to vent? Have a policy proposal?

Drop us a line:  We encourage you to share your opinions.  Letters to the editor 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.  Please include your name and contact information.
Scorecard

What's up and down in SC

Boeing. A tentative deal has been struck that could end the labor fight between the aircraft manufacturer, who has opened an enormous plant in the Charleston area, labor unions and the National Labor Relations Board. More.

Occupy. The Richland County solicitor has refused to prosecute 19 Occupy Columbia protesters because they were engaged in a “lawful purpose.” More.

Energy costs. Duke Power wanted a 15 percent price increase; a state agency got it dropped to 6 percent, which is still a hike. More.

‘Great day.’ Two state representatives have pre-filed a bill that would ban state employees from answering the phone with the greeting, “It’s a great day in South Carolina,” until various factors, like unemployment rates, improve. More.

Retirement. A House subcommittee has recommended state workers and others taking part in the state’s retirement system to pay in more, and other potentially unsavory moves. The upside, the retirement system’s projected shortfall could be corrected. More.

Transparency. Gov. Nikki Haley’s staff won’t testify voluntarily before a Senate panel about their role in helping Georgia’s port expansion project. More.

Stegelin

Digging a hole


Also from Stegelin: 11/25 | 11/18 | 11/11 | 11/4 | 10/28
credits

Statehouse Report

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

Phone: 843.670.3996

© 2002 - 2014 , 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/.