Post Tagged with: "Larry Grooms"

NEWS: Legislators wait on bus funding, causing some to worry about risk

NEWS: Legislators wait on bus funding, causing some to worry about risk

By Lindsay Street, Statehouse correspondent  |  Top lawmakers say they are waiting until January to override a gubernatorial veto, an action that would fund hundreds of new school buses.  Why the wait?  They say it’s because they are being good stewards of public dollars.  And anyway, waiting to override the veto won’t delay getting dangerously old buses off roads, they say.

Others wonder if there’s more to it.  

S.C. House Majority Leader Gary Simrill, R-Rock Hill,  told Statehouse Report the state S.C. Department of Education currently has the funds it could temporarily use to order the buses.  That money, he said, would then be reimbursed by a January override that would release $17.5 million from S.C. Education Lottery proceeds. He said it’s up to state Superintendent Molly Spearman to order the buses sooner rather than later.

by · 07/14/2017 · News
NEWS:  Earned-income tax credit has surprise chance

NEWS: Earned-income tax credit has surprise chance

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher | State Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter for years has dreamed of South Carolina having an Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) as a way of raising incomes for the working poor.

Now there’s a chance it could get done as a part of a broad gas tax package passed this week by the state Senate to generate much-needed hundreds of millions of dollars a year to fix roads and bridges.

“I love it because the one thing I can say about this bill is that there is tax relief for people who really need it and that group is working families in this state,” Cobb-Hunter , an Orangeburg Democrat, said this morning. “Hallelujah!”

by · 04/28/2017 · News
BRACK: A pat on the back to Grooms, Sheheen for practical roads bill

BRACK: A pat on the back to Grooms, Sheheen for practical roads bill

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher | Larry Grooms and Vincent Sheheen pored over spreadsheets for weeks looking for a solution that hornswoggled their state Senate colleagues for three years: A practical way to raise the state’s gas tax to fix roads.

By Wednesday, an idea by Republican Grooms – allowing state drivers to get rebates of their portion of the 12-cents-per-gallon hike in the gas user fee – blended with tax cut priorities by Sheheen, a Democrat, to cobble together a piece of winning legislation. While Sheheen brought a solid bloc of the minority Democrats to the table, Senate President Pro Tem Hugh Leatherman, R-Florence, and Grooms delivered a group of moderate Republicans who stuck together, vote after vote, to thwart filibuster threats and get the bill passed.

by · 04/28/2017 · Andy Brack, Commentary
NEWS: Clock is ticking on shortened legislative session

NEWS: Clock is ticking on shortened legislative session

By Bill Davis, senior editor | With only a month left in this year’s legislative session, the state General Assembly appears to be about halfway through its agenda of “big ticket” items – the annual budget, pension reform, road funding and education reform.

Monday when neither the state Senate or House are in session, will mark the point in the session where it’s harder for new bills to gain traction as a two-thirds vote is required to send one bill from one chamber to the other. It is referred to as “crossover day.”

This year’s “crossover” is three weeks earlier than in the past as the legislature last year voted to lop of the final three weeks of the legislative session in what was billed as a tax savings for voters.

by · 04/07/2017 · News
An abortion protester in Charleston in 2015.

NEWS: It’s spring and that means abortion debates heat up

By Bill Davis, senior editor | It is spring and hope has returned to some quarters of the General Assembly that more can be done to tighten the noose around abortion rights in South Carolina. Whether anything becomes law, however, is a long and complicated political puzzle.

This year, there are 12 different abortion-related bills that have been introduced in the House and the Senate. Of those, more than half the bills seek to, depending on which side of the debate is speaking, to support pro-life policies or limit women’s access to health care.

Whether these bills enjoy any kind of success, national groups with state chapters, such as like Planned Parenthood, have vowed to fight many of them as aggressively as if they were about to be signed into law.

by · 03/24/2017 · News
NEWS:  Shorter session may imperil second-tier issues

NEWS: Shorter session may imperil second-tier issues

By Bill Davis, senior editor | State Rep. Bruce Bannister (R-Greenville) said this week that no issue has flooded his email inbox more than a proposal this year to allow teachers to carry guns “since the legislature considered changes to bear-hunting season.”

That issue and a host of others will fight for space in the coming legislative session, in the nooks and crannies not filled by the “big four” issues expected to dominate the General Assembly’s agenda: roads, education, tax reform and saving the state’s pension system.

House Speaker Jay Lucas’ office declined to discuss anything beyond the “big four,” despite repeated requests.

by · 12/23/2016 · News
SCORECARD:  Lots of thumbs down for the week

SCORECARD: Lots of thumbs down for the week

Thumbs up on farm aid, new book by John Crangle, more jobs. In the middle about a possible new medical school. Thumbs down to Gov. Nikki Haley’s attack PAC, abortion ban, bathroom bill, FOIA stall, ethics complaint and former Sen. Robert Ford. Quotes on abortion bill and Operation Lost Trust.

by · 05/20/2016 · Features, Scorecard
NEWS: More can be done to make roads safer, officials say

NEWS: More can be done to make roads safer, officials say

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher | With the fun of summer just around the corner, there soon will be the relaxation of vacations, influx of tourists, kids at home looking for something to do and the sticky, hot weather that we complain about but secretly mostly enjoy.

But with summer comes an annual rise in the frequency of traffic deaths in a state that’s grappling with how to make roads safer.

“The stretch from Memorial Day to Labor Day is commonly known as ‘The 100 Deadly Days of Summer,’” said S.C. Highway Patrol Sgt. Robert Beres. “We usually see more people die during that time than other times of the year.”

by · 05/13/2016 · News