Columbia Star

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Leaks from the legislature

House sustains 51 line-item vetoes



The General Assembly reconvened in Columbia between June 15 and June 17 to take up the second round of Gov. Mark Sanford’s budget vetoes, this time with the House showing an unusual amount of cooperation with the Sanford administration. Out of 107 line–item vetoes, the House sustained 51 of them, representing the most money in sustained vetoes in 23 years. The largest chunk came from Part IV of the budget, which dealt with Medicaid funding coming from the federal government; it added up to $214 million. Overall, about $261 million was eliminated from the original budget by the House.

Another large amount of spending—$25.2 million to the Budget & Control Board—was cut out of the budget by an overwhelming 80–29 vote in favor of sustaining. That doesn’t mean the Board is kaput, however. Rep. Anton Gunn (D–Richland) says that the agency has $58.9 million in unrestricted money to use in the next fiscal year, and it should be OK. Not everything in the B&CB will be fine, though. The Confederate Relic Room & Military Museum, the state’s oldest history museum, is seeing 95 percent of its budget disappear. In several interviews, museum director Allen Roberson said they’re looking at a number of different ways to keep the museum running.

ETV saved But not everyone is in such dire straits. S.C. Educational Television was saved from the budget axe by significant margins on three veto overrides, with the Senate concurring. The State Museum, the State Library and $4.6 million to county libraries received the thumbs-up from legislators, as well. Also surviving was funding to the S.C. Arts Commission.

Senate overrides all vetoes

One of the reasons the House was so friendly to Gov. Mark Sanford’s vetoes was that the House Republican leadership made a deal with the Governor to sustain more of his vetoes in return for him not vetoing the entire budget. The Senate, however, produced another example of how different the chambers are, and can be. There appears to be no deviation from the previous norm, as every veto that passed the House and went before the Senate was overridden, most by significant margins.

Democrat filibusters

There was another issue that slowed down the Senate, though. A compromise bill on voter ID and early voting was not well received by the Democrats. Sen. Brad Hutto (D–Orangeburg) held the floor during an extensive filibuster, refusing to accept the changes early voting time the GOP leadership in both chambers wanted. It would have limited early voting to eight days before the election and only at one polling station in each county. There were also additional limits put on absentee voting. The filibuster ended when the decision was made to go back to the previously agreed upon compromise.

Because of the filibuster, the Senate wasn’t able to

On–Call Handyman Service go through all of the vetoes that the House overrode. As

a matter of procedure, the Senate processed the rest of

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the sustained vetoes and will return June 29 to finish up

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Wolfe is the proprietor of and has


written for 11 publications in five states.

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