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ISSUE 11.47
Nov. 23, 2012

RECENT ISSUES:
9/19 | 9/12 | 9/05 | 8/29

Index

Legislative Agenda :
From judicial screening to orientation
Radar Screen :
Harrison, Zucker to be honored
Palmetto Politics :
The unmitigated gall
Commentary :
The real spirit of giving
Spotlight :
S.C. Association for Justice
Feedback :
Send us your reactions
Scorecard :
From jobless rate to Haley, Riley
Stegelin :
Fork it over
Megaphone :
Oops, umm, we actually could have done better
Tally Sheet :
Prefiling set for House, not Senate
Encyclopedia :
Blenheim Ginger Ale

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EDITOR'S NOTE

News back next week

We offer an abbreviated edition this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday.  Editor Bill Davis also is off this week.  Check back next week for Statehouse Report's latest news report.

NUMBER OF THE WEEK

8.6 percent

That's the state's latest unemployment rate, which is a full point lower than two months ago and the lowest since November 2008.  Across the nation, jobless rates fell in three in four states, according to the Associated Press.  More.

MEGAPHONE

Oops, umm, we actually could have done better

“Could South Carolina have done a better job? Absolutely, or we would not be standing here.”

-- Gov. Nikki Haley this week a month after letting people know about the nation's worst government hacking of personal information.  The statement is quite a turnaround from a month ago when the governor insisted nothing could have prevented the hack.  More.
Read more here: http://www.thestate.com/2012/11/21/2527941/haley-admits-state-failed-to-protect.html#.UK6dae_YGSp#storylink=cpy

TALLY SHEET

Prefiling set for House, not Senate

The House of Representatives will hold an organizational session on Dec. 4 and 5.  The House will accept prefiled bills on Dec. 11 and Dec. 18.  The Senate apparently has not yet set it's prefiling calendar yet. 
If you want to look at legislation from the 2012 session, you can follow these links:

ENCYCLOPEDIA

Blenheim Ginger Ale

Blenheim Ginger Ale has its origins in the Marlboro County village of Blenheim. During the late 1890s, Dr. C. R. May began adding Jamaican ginger to the mineral water gathered from a local artesian spring. At the time, wealthy planters were building summer homes in the area. He prescribed the concoction as a palatable digestive aid. In the early 1900s May joined forces with A. J. Matheson to bottle the non-alcoholic ale. Though the company developed a number of different flavor combinations over the years-including a pineapple-orange soda-the spicy, ginger-flavored soft drink known as Old Number Three has remained the primary product.

Until 1993, Blenheim Bottling Company avoided any attempts at modernization. Each bottle was taken off the production line and hand shaken to mix the granulated sugar into the ale. That laborious process ended when the Alan Schafer, proprietor of the South of the Border entertainment complex located just south of the North Carolina state line, bought out the bottler and built a modern plant. The old plant closed and production moved to a new home alongside Pedro’s Pleasure Palace and other attractions of South of the Border.

Despite a marketing push that began in the late 1990s and continues today, Blenheim ginger ale is not widely distributed outside the Carolinas. The spicy ale has, however, developed a cult following among food and wine aficionados. In a February 25, 1998 New York Times article, journalists Bill Grimes described the taste in this way: “The first swallow brings on a four-sneeze fit. The second one clears out the sinuses and leaves the tongue and throat throbbing with prickly heat.”

-- Excerpted from the entry by John T. Edge. 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.)

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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Legislative Agenda

From judicial screening to orientation

On tap in the coming week at the Statehouse:

  • Judicial screening. The Judicial Merit Selection Commission will hold a public hearing at 9 a.m., Nov. 27, in Blatt 210. The commission will hear public comments on 13 judicial candidates and will hold an executive session. Agenda.

  • New House members. There will be a two-day new member orientation for House members starting at 10 a.m. On Nov. 27 and 28 in Blatt 112.

  • Other funds. The Joint Other Funds Committee will meet 10 a.m., Nov. 28, in Gressette 105.

  • Medical Affairs. The Senate Medical Affairs Committee will meet 11 a.m., Nov. 28, in Gressette 308. On the agenda: An address by Tony Keck, head of the state Department of Health and Human Services, on the Affordable Care Act.

  • Family court. The joint Family Court Study Committee will meet 2 p.m., Nov. 28, in 105 Gressette.

  • Teachers. The joint Teacher Salary Study Committee will meet 10 a.m., Nov. 29, in Gressette 105.
Radar Screen

Harrison, Zucker to be honored

The Riley Institute at Furman University will have its annual salute to the legislature with the Wilkins Leadership Awards at a 7:30 p.m. Dinner and awards ceremony at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center.

This year, the Institute will honor retiring state Rep. Jim Harrison (R-Columbia) with its Excellence in Legislative Leadership Award and Charleston businesswoman Anita Zucker, chair and CEO of The Intertech Group, with its Excellence in Civic Leadership Award. More.

Palmetto Politics

The unmitigated gall

Some days, we don't know what planet Gov. Nikki Haley lives in.

On one hand, she raises all sorts of Cain about the federal government interjecting itself in the lives of South Carolina. Two examples of her railing against the feds: Saying the state won't set up a health exchange to enact provisions of the Affordable Care Act; and lambasting the National Labor Relations Board over a case involving Boeing.

But now that Haley and her administration are caught wide-eyed in the Great Hacking of 2012 in which 3.8 million – yes, million – South Carolinians lost private information from state computers due to a foreign hacker, who does Haley try to blame: yep, the federal government.

In a letter that went to the acting head of the Internal Revenue Service this week, Haley went out of her way to shift blame from her administration to the feds. Why? Because this anti-federal government governor said the federal government had not done enough! The key section:


Unbelievable. Seems she wants the best of both worlds – a punching bag for policies that she doesn't support and a security blanket when she's in trouble. Read the full letter.

Commentary

The real spirit of giving

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher

NOV. 23, 2012 – The stories of the men and women who served in World War II come alive in a new book offered by The Electric Cooperatives of South Carolina.

After the Japanese pounded Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7 almost 71 years ago, more than 16 million Americans were in the armed forces.  The overwhelming majority served outside of the limelight.  They served with honor because it was their duty to do the right thing for the country.

“When they returned to civilian life, they went on to quietly raise families and build a nation that  had no equal,” said Mike Couick, president and CEO of the state's organization of 19 electric co-operatives.

Last year on the 70th anniversary of the Pearl  Harbor attack, the co-ops partnered with Honor Flight of South Carolina, a Columbia-based group that honors World War II veterans by taking them to the nation's capital to visit major memorials.  

The co-ops, which identified some 300 World War II veterans in the towns they serve across the state, became the first organization in South Carolina to adopt a whole flight.  On April 11, they took 100 veterans, each matched with a guardian for the day, to Washington on the historic trip.  Over the summer, another 100 joined other Honor Flight trips.  And in September, the co-ops sponsored another full flight of vets for the ultimate memorial experience.

Each veteran on the maiden April journey is featured in the new book by the co-ops, “Honor Flight: April 11, 2012.”  Today, they're in their late 80s or early 90s.

With memories from retired Conway farmer and businessman Aubrey M. Anderson (“If anyone tells you he wasn't scared, he was never there”) to retired Darlington insurance adjuster Johnnie J. Young (“I wouldn't trade any time in my life for the time that I served”), it would be the understatement of the year to say the stories in the book are awe-inspiring.

Former Florence Congressman Ed Young, a fighter pilot in the U.S. Army Air Force in the Pacific, flew almost 200 combat missions and “never got hit,” which he attributed to the U.S. having better airplanes.  

During the war, South Carolinians went to all corners of the world – to the fighting fields of Europe to far flung islands in the Pacific.  They saw service in the Battle of the Bulge, on D-Day in France, on ships attacked by kamikazes and in northern Africa.  

Tomie L. Gaines Sr. of Greenville, a medic in a segregated unit in the European theater, visits schools to tell children about the war.  “Some of those little kids ask you some questions you just can't answer,” he said in the book.  “There's a few thing that, being a medic, I just can't talk about.”

Sumter business leader Charles L. “Flop” Shaw received minor shrapnel wounds in a firefight near Anzio.  “Lord knows, you'd never want to do that again,” recalled Shaw.  “But let me say this: I'm glad I did my part, and there's no question I'm glad we won.”

The co-op book, available for $29.95 from the organization, also features photos of the veterans, all clad in honorary red jackets, at memorials across Washington, D.C.  They told stories and remembered friends who didn't make it.  They smiled, snapped pictures, made new friends and quietly reflected.  And they inspired their guardians as they explored throughout the day.  When they flew home at the end of the day, they got a big, warm reception in Columbia.  

It was, as many surely will tell you, a day to remember for a time not to forget.  

The co-op's Couick encourages people to buy the book – not necessarily to keep, but to inspire others.

“I wish people would buy the book and donate it to a school,” he said, still awed months later by the April trip.  “These stories need to be remembered.”

Now that we're in the holiday time of year saddled between giving thanks and giving to our loved ones, remembering and honoring those who helped make our country great – from World War II vets to those  who served in Iraq and Afghanistan – has a new sense of urgency thanks to this book.

Andy Brack is publisher of Statehouse Report.  You can reach Brack at: brack@statehousereport.com.

Spotlight

S.C. Association for Justice

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 Association for Justice, a non-profit, non-partisan, professional association dedicated to advancing the rights of individuals and small businesses in the civil and criminal justice system in South Carolina. For more information about how the association works to protect individual rights and keep families safe, go to: www.scaj.com.

Feedback

Send us your reactions

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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

From jobless rate to Haley, Riley

Unemployment. The state's jobless rate is the lowest it has been in four years. Because the rate went down in 36 other states, it's likely that what's happening at the national level (i.e., not necessarily what's being done by state officials) is the root cause for the good news. Let's hope the economy keeps improving.

Haley. Really, Gov. Haley, really? You're blaming the federal government now for the screw-up that occurred on your watch. Nice spin. Won't work.

Riley. Thumbs down to Charleston Mayor Joe Riley for strong-arming his city council to try to take responsibility for extending Interstate 526. There are people all over the state who don't want to pay for a road that a lot of people in Charleston don't want.

Richland County. The county's election day efforts continue to be marred by controversy. Because the county didn't have enough machines on election day, some state legislators are now calling for the head of the county's election office on a silver platter. About time.
Stegelin

Fork it over


Also from Stegelin: 11/16 | 11/9 | 11/2 | 10/26
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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/.