Sorry it’s taken over a month to get around to this post but between the high-school antics of some members of the State House and well, historically-low mortgage rates keeping me busy at my paying job, I almost forgot about this three-part series. Thanks to the readers for reminding me…
To rehash, you can read Part One of Three here.
Tonight, THE BATTLES
1) Democrats v. Republicans
First, and interestingly enough the LEAST hostile, is the battle between Democrats and Republicans in our State House. Of course, that’s if you can actually figure out who are the Democrats and who are the Republicans. Don’t let the (D) or the (R) after the persons’ name fool you though. As one NathansNews reader told me: There’s not much difference anymore.
During budget debates, you’re sure to see battles over where to spend (or rather this year, cut) your tax dollars. That’s a given. And I imagine we’ll see some discussion over cigarette tax again this year; however, it will pass again because few Rs will vote against whatever plan the Speaker finally blesses this year and the Democrats will take anything that will pass.
Outside of that, the partisanship seems (at least to me) to be a little toned down – for now. After our Reorganization the Dems seemed to get their “due” in exchange for voting as certain members wanted. If you really pay close attention you’ll see more Democrat subcommittee chairman where there once were one (or none even). Wonder how that happened??
Outside of that, the only battles forthcoming in January seem to be the battle on who will represent James Island – (D) Anne Peterson-Hutto or (R) Wallace Scarborough? As I’ve shared before, the decision will soon rest in the full body of the SC House of Representatives. Wonder if that’ll be a partisan vote?
Also, after the most recent shenanigans during Reorganization , there’s now a vacant seat on the Ethics Committee. Currently the breakdown is 4 Republicans and 1 Democrat. For several years, there had been 4 Republicans and 2 Democrats so we’ll see if it ends up like that again or if the Republicans push one of their own, hand-picked members. If the Republican wins, it’ll mean a 5-1 Republican hold and it will mean there will be no African-American members on the committee.
2) Republicans v Republicans
For sake of argument, I’ll say this battle has representatives who have Rs after their name.
If you’re a follower of blogs for the past year or so, you’ve seen that many stories make their way to light only in the “blogosphere” and not main stream media. (Probably because most of you may not really care that much about the inner-workings of government). Regardless, this summer one of the most read blogs (FITSnews) first published a story about “Cracking Skulls”. Well, call him Carnac because he hit it on the head, long before anyone else knew.
At our Republican Caucus this summer, a staffer from the Speaker’s office asked if I really believed a strategy was in place to try to keep people in line? Well….after the past few months, I’ll let y’all be the judge of that.
Ask anyone in Columbia or politics and they’ll tell you it’s obvious a lot of the R v R battles seem to be aimed against folks for not marching in line. Some of the “skull-cracking” though has come against folks who haven’t been as vocal. I’m not sure the logic there. You’ve read of two of the biggest targets recently and also a few of the others. I’ve also heard from members willing to share some of the other moves that shows this “cracking” went much deeper than first thought.
a) Why was one member who had planned to run for Chairman of a committee moved from that committee but that didn’t apply to other candidates in other committee Chairman races?
b) Why was another member who had planned to run for a Chairman of a committee kept on his committee but not given subcommittee chairmanship…..but two Dems and a FRESHMAN were given chairs?
c) Why were two Republicans stripped of their subcommittee chairmanships?
d) Why has Leadership spent so much time trying to spin these events to several members?
e) Why have several shared names of those who played the quid-pro-quo game weeks ago in order to get key committee assignments?
Oh…I’m still talking about the Republican v. Republican battles here – although you’d think it was partisan politics instead of cannibalism.
3) Legislature v. Governor
This one apparently is always in style….at least under our current, fiscal-conservative, Governor Mark Sanford. Budget writing…..Governor has one way, Legislature has their way. Income tax cuts….Governor has one way, Legislature has their way. The list is long. Seriously, if the Governor wanted the Legislature to recognize the sky as blue, the Legislature would find a way to recognize it was periwinkle, if only to show it was the Legislature’s way that got passed.
The pride of authorship is very strong inside the chamber. Many bills have died because of egos and our state is not being helped by this.
I could go on about more specific battles we’ll see this year (Cigarette Tax, School Choice, Early Voting, Transparency Reform, Campaign Finance Disclosure Reform,e tc) but I’ll share those later.