Legislator Says Upstate Delegation Now Controls the SC Senate

WYFF’s Taggart Houck, WGTK 94.5 The Answer’s Joey Hudson, and First Monday’s Deb Sofield moderated the questions and answer portion of the forum.
WYFF’s Taggart Houck, WGTK 94.5 The Answer’s Joey Hudson, and First Monday’s Deb Sofield moderated the questions and answer portion of the forum.

On Monday, January 31st, the Fourth District Republican Club and South Carolina’s State GOP Club held a community-wide legislative forum at the newly renovated Historic Greer Depot in Greer, SC.

The meeting began with Fourth District Republican Club Chairman Nate Leupp and SCGOP Chairman Drew McKissick who gave open remarks and thanked the crowd for the great attendance.

WYFF’s Taggart Houck, WGTK 94.5 The Answer’s Joey Hudson, and First Monday’s Deb Sofield moderated the questions and answer portion of the forum.

US 4th District Congressman William Timmons started the meeting with a quick update of legislation in Washington, DC. Timmons highlighted three issues: high inflation, out-of-control prices of energy felt at the gas pump, and the shameful exit out of Afghanistan. As he points out the great news from the newly elected Virginia Governor, he informs the crowd that Columbia elected their first Republican Mayor in his lifetime. He says the American people are starting to see it and change is coming.

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Boeing and Volvo to benefit from secretive infrastructure program

The S.C. Department of Commerce wants to spend nearly half of $150 million in state surplus money it’s seeking for next fiscal year on projects that would benefit corporate giants Boeing and Volvo – contradicting what the agency said in its official budget request, according to an internal document obtained by The Nerve.

Commerce released the two-page document to The Nerve on Friday evening, just several hours after The Nerve reported that the agency was continuing to be secretive about its “Strategic Economic Development Infrastructure” program – even after a request was submitted under the S.C. Freedom of Information Act for all records related to the program.

The Nerve first revealed in December that Commerce was seeking $100 million for the program – its listed No. 1 budget priority for fiscal 2022-23, which begins July 1. Last month, The Nerve reported that Gov. Henry McMaster proposed $150 million for the program, though, as with his Cabinet agency, he gave no specifics in his state budget version about how the money would be spend.

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ShhhhhhS.C. Department of Commerce officials remain tight-lipped about details of a proposed $150 million “infrastructure” program, which Gov. Henry McMaster included in his state budget version for next fiscal year.

On Thursday, Commerce released records to The Nerve under the S.C. Freedom of Information Act, but the relatively few documents gave no specifics about how the money would be spent.

The Nerve on Dec. 10 first revealed that Commerce was seeking $100 million out of state surplus funds for the “Strategic Economic Development Infrastructure” program – listing it as its top budget priority for the fiscal year that starts July 1, according to the agency’s initial budget request submitted to the state Department of Administration.

At the time, Commerce didn’t respond to written questions about the program, so The Nerve submitted a formal records request under the Freedom of Information Act.

Earlier this month, The Nerve revealed that McMaster was seeking $50 million more for the program than what Commerce initially requested as part of his proposed $36 billion total state budget for fiscal 2022-23. But, as with his Cabinet agency’s initial request, the governor’s state spending plan contained no details on the program, and following Commerce’s practice, his office didn’t respond to The Nerve’s written questions.

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A legislatively controlled committee isn’t saying publicly why it found a longtime circuit court judge unqualified – and state law requires the secrecy.

The six-legislator, 10-member Judicial Merit Selection Commission (JMSC) on Dec. 1 voted 9-0 not to qualify Horry County circuit judge Steven John, who has been on the bench since 2001, for another six-year term – a rare action involving a sitting, veteran judge.

In a December Nerve story, Erin Crawford, the JMSC’s chief lawyer, wouldn’t say why John was found unqualified for the 15th Circuit Court seat, though she said a formal screening report to be released by the commission would “state forth the findings of the Commission on each of the 9 evaluative criteria and will set forth any areas of concern as well as commission comments.”

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Dallas-based Energy Transfer says the gas will continue to flow to Luminant's power plants but did not say for how long. Meanwhile, winter weather approaches.

A fight is unfolding between two Texas energy giants, and power to 400,000 homes is being used as leverage.

One of Texas’ largest power providers on Wednesday asked state regulators to intervene and stop Dallas-based pipeline company Energy Transfer from halting natural gas service to its power plants.

MORE: https://www.wfaa.com/article/news/loc...

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The Daniel Island Club on its website bills itself as one of the top country clubs in Charleston, offering two “nationally-ranked” private golf courses, along with swimming, tennis and fitness facilities in a “lush, resort-style setting.”

Jim Newsome, the president and CEO of the state-created Ports Authority (SCPA), belonged to the swank club last year, as did three other top SCPA executives – with their pricey club dues paid by the authority, according to agency records provided recently to The Nerve under the S.C. Freedom of Information Act.

The total compensation in 2021 for Newsome, who announced last fall that he is retiring this year, effective June 30, was nearly $1.1 million, which included, besides $16,848 in country club dues, a $336,875 bonus, $187,153 in deferred compensation, $15,707 for “executive” life insurance and an $11,076 car allowance, records show. His base annual salary was $511,849.

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CHARLESTON, W.V. and BOISE, Idaho -- West Virginia and Idaho legislatures voted today to designate January 22 as the Day of Tears.

West Virginia's Senate Resolution 12 was a bi-partisan effort sponsored by Senator Patricia Rucker (R-Jefferson), Stephen Baldwin (D-Greenbrier), and Randy Smith (R-Tucker).

"The number one cause of death in 2021 was abortion- the killing of an unborn child. If that isn't a cause for tears I don't know what is," said Senator Rucker.

Idaho passed Senate Resolution 101, sponsored by Senator Mary Souza (R- Coeur d'Alene) and Representative Barbara Ehardt (R-Idaho Falls) designating January 22 as the Day of Tears in Idaho in perpetuity.

"We in Idaho are committed to honoring and protecting life. By joining with other states in acknowledging January 22nd as The Day of Tears, we are remembering and mourning the nearly 62 million lives that have been lost to abortion. For those who have been affected by abortion, we hope this day will give them the opportunity to grieve and heal," said Senator Souza.

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ATLANTA -- VoterGA today announced a new chain of custody study that revealed nearly 107,000 drop box ballots in the November 2020 election results have improper chain of custody forms that call into question the authenticity of those ballots. The study resulted from a statewide analysis of ballot transfer forms obtained via Open Records Requests. 

The findings are preliminary and the number is expected to increase dramatically as more counties acknowledge they cannot produce oaths for collection team members or, admit they have destroyed surveillance videos in spite of federal and state retention laws that require election records to be retained for about two years.

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Legislative Forum 2022

We're excited for our next SCGOP/Fourth District Club event.

Our Legislative Forum will be on January 31 at 6:45 PM at the Historic Greer Depot. 94.5FM The Answer's Joey Hudson will be moderating.

We want to inform voters about the 2022 Session and what our legislators will be dealing with. Our Lt. Governor, Pamela Evette will be taking a few minutes at the start to talk about what legislation the Executive Branch would like to see passed. Senators Josh Kimbrell and Ross Turner will speak on behalf of their respective counties on some issues on the Senate side, but we're gearing this event more specifically to the house side and will have Representatives from both Greenville and Spartanburg.

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General George Washington and the Continental Army worked on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, and so must you.

I can not exaggerate the urgency of our situation.   Let me show you why you must do all you can to stop the SC Senate from passing H 3205, Meckler's "COS" application for Congress to call an Article V Convention. 

This link (CLICK HERE) is a Flyer from a "BBA" group pushing for an Article V convention - ostensibly for the limited purpose of getting an amendment which requires Congress to "balance the budget".  Note that they are now claiming that 33 States have active applications.  Only one more State is needed and Congress can call a convention. 

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Gov. Henry McMaster wants to more than double the state Department of Commerce’s budget, though neither he nor his Cabinet agency has provided details in official records on a proposed $150 million “infrastructure” program.

McMaster’s requested appropriation for the “Strategic Economic Development Infrastructure” program, which was included in his fiscal 2022-23 state budget version released this week, is $50 million more than what Commerce initially asked for in its budget request presented last fall.

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In unveiling his fiscal 2022-23 state budget this week, Gov. Henry McMaster proposed using $660 million in federal coronavirus-relief money to begin construction of Interstate 73 toward Myrtle Beach and widening I-26 between Columbia and Charleston.

McMaster in a letter Monday to lawmakers contended that the federal money combined with nearly $600 million in state surplus funds would allow the S.C. Department of Transportation to “accelerate construction, expansion, or improvements to our State-owned roads, bridges, highways, and interstates.”

Besides the I-73 and I-26 projects, which McMaster publicly announced last year and included in his state budget summary, the governor in his letter Monday also noted widening I-95 in the Lowcountry and additional lane widening of I-85 in the Upstate.

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Multimillionaire businessman John Warren has opted not to challenge South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster to a rematch of their 2018 GOP primary face-off.

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Multimillionaire businessman John Warren has opted not to challenge South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster to a rematch of their 2018 GOP primary face-off, saying Thursday he would sit out this year's election — but not ruling out a future bid.

“Right now, given my responsibilities as CEO, I do not plan to seek public office in 2022,” Warren said on Twitter, saying he'd be placing emphasis on the Bitcoin company he launched last year.

There had been speculation that Warren, 42, would mount a redo of 2018, when the businessman leveraged more than $3 million of his own money to fund his challenge of McMaster, whom he portrayed as part of an ineffective establishment. Even though he’d entered just months before the race, Warren's effort catapulted him from political anonymity to second-place finisher in a four-way GOP primary, forcing McMaster to a runoff.

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New S.C. Senate president Thomas Alexander reported a total of more than $850,000 in income over a 10-year period from Upstate public agencies through his office supply business, The Nerve found in a review of his annual income-disclosure records.

No one has accused the longtime Oconee County Republican of any wrongdoing. But, as The Nerve previously has revealed, some lawmakers over the years have made a lot of money off government agencies in their home districts.

And when Alexander dons the traditional purple robe to preside Tuesday over the start of the regular legislative session of the 46-member Senate, he’ll receive more state pay – plus new appointment powers – that come with the title of president.

Alexander, 65, who served in the S.C. House from 1987-94 before becoming a senator in 1994, was elected the Senate president following the death in November of longtime Senate Finance Committee chairman Hugh Leatherman, R-Florence. Then-Senate president Harvey Peeler, R-Cherokee, resigned his position to become the Finance Committee chairman, and Alexander was elected by his Senate colleagues as president.

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More than 1,300 Santee Cooper workers last year received “incentive” bonuses totaling $5 million, with outgoing president and CEO Mark Bonsall getting a $242,500 bonus on top of his $1.1 million base salary, records show.

All but 58 of the 1,383 employees of the state-owned utility who were making an annual salary of at least $50,000 as of Nov. 5 received the “incentive pay” last year, which averaged $3,774 per eligible worker, according to The Nerve’s review of records recently provided by the utility under the S.C. Freedom of Information Act.

Annual salaries combined with “incentive pay” made up total “cash compensation” for the year, utility records show.

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SAN JOSE, Calif. -- On December 23, a federal court granted Life Legal's motion to "enjoin" or block enforcement of a California law that criminalizes First Amendment activity outside most abortion clinics.

The law, SB 742, makes it illegal to approach a person or occupied vehicle within 30 feet of the entrance to a "vaccination site" for the purpose of obstructing, injuring, harassing, intimidating, or interfering with that person. A "vaccination site" is defined as a location offering any type of vaccine services, which includes Planned Parenthood and other abortion facilities that dispense Gardasil and other STD vaccines.

We sued California Attorney General Rob Bonta as soon as the law was passed on behalf of pro-life sidewalk counselors who regularly speak with women entering "vaccination site" abortion clinics, and who provide literature and display signs offering help with abortion alternatives – all activities that could be illegal under the new law.

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