Time may be running out for Ken Ard, as the Republican lieutenant governor will soon learn if a state grand jury will indict him on ethics violations, according to the Charleston Post & Courier’s Robert Behre. So far the most likely scenarios are that Ard either is indicted, decides to fight the charges and is suspended from office, or that he takes a plea bargain and steps down voluntarily.
With Ard likely to lose his office one way or the other, the Free Times’ Corey Hutchins breaks down all the political machinations and wrangling over how the lieutenant governor will be replaced. As Palmetto Public Record Reported last week, many believe Sen. Glenn McConnell will be temporarily replaced as Senate President by Sen. John Courson, who will then (as mandated by the state constitution) become lieutenant governor. Whether Senate Democrats let McConnell resume his leadership position after the little “State House shuffle,” however, remains unknown.
Now on to the headlines:
GOP lawmakers want to close ‘open’ primaries - Independents and Democrats could not vote in South Carolina’s high-profile, first-in-the-South Republican presidential primary if some GOP lawmakers get their way, according to The State’s Gina Smith. Currently, any registered S.C. voter can cast a ballot in one primary for each election without having to say whether they are a Republican, Democrat, independent or a member of any other political party. Under the proposal advanced Wednesday, voters would be required to register by political party before casting a ballot in any primary.
DNR chairwoman denies lying to senators under oath - Under intense fire from the most powerful arm of the state government, Department of Natural Resources Chairwoman Caroline Rhodes is defending herself, according to WIS-TV’s Jody Barr. The Senate may censure Rhodes, and the attorney general may also investigate if she lied under oath.
Rival conferences show rift in South Carolina Democrats - A few hundred South Carolina Democrats will meet in Columbia on Saturday to discuss issues, campaign strategy and political techniques they hope will bring them success this fall, according to the Post & Courier’s Robert Behre. The intriguing thing is — for a party struggling to rebuild after being hammered in the last 21 statewide elections — they will attend two different meetings.
Haley rips House budget for not including tax cuts - Republican Gov. Nikki Haley lashed out Wednesday after S.C. House budget writers rejected her proposal to cut state taxes by $140 million, saying she was tired of dealing with a GOP-controlled Legislature “that doesn’t know how to act like one,” according to The State’s Adam Beam. Instead of the $140 million in tax cuts that Haley asked for in her executive budget proposal, House budget writers chose to spend $152 million to give teachers a raise and another $180 million to deepen the port of Charleston.
Divorced S.C. parents may have to pay ‘college support’ - The state Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday that divorced parents who pay child support may also have pay part of their children’s college tuition, according to the Associated Press’ Jeffrey Collins. Justices voted 3-2 that a college education is critical to success in today’s world, and that the state has an interest in alleviating the disadvantages facing children of divorce.