Politics

Department of Social Services Director Lillian Koller defends agency, refuses to resign

Lillian Koller, director of the South Carolina Department of Social Services on Wednesday said, “I respectfully decline to resign” after testifying before a state senate panel investigating her agency. Department of Social Services Director Lillian Koller (photo provided) State Sens. Joel Lourie and Vincent Sheheen have called for Koller to step down after recent controversies involving DSS, including the deaths…

Sheheen outlines plan for changes to Department of Social Services, repeats call for director’s ouster

South Carolina senator and gubernatorial candidate Vincent Sheheen on Tuesday repeated his call for Gov. Nikki Haley to fire Department of Social Services Director Lillian Koller and laid out his own plan to, as he put it, “rebuild a very dysfunctional and troubled agency.” Senator and gubernatorial candidate Vincent Sheheen (file photo by Kelly Petty). A Senate panel has heard…

Protesters call for same-sex marriage recognition by South Carolina government

Tuesday was the deadline to pay federal and state taxes, and legally married same-sex couples in South Carolina were required by the state Department of Revenue to file as single on state tax returns. South Carolina Equality Executive Director Ryan Wilson (at lectern) leads protesters in removing their wedding rings in support of marriage equality Tuesday (photo by Allen Wallace)….

Gov. Nikki Haley signs Emma’s Law

The crusade led by the Longstreet family to toughen South Carolina’s DUI laws has ended in victory Monday. David Longstreet spoke to Emma’s Law supporters at a State House rally April 2 as Columbia Fire Chief Aubrey Jenkins (standing, far right) looked on. (photo by Allen Wallace) Gov. Nikki Haley signed the bill known as Emma’s Law, making the bill…

Emma’s Law passes Senate, heads to Gov. Nikki Haley’s desk

The Emma’s Law bill is just one step away from becoming South Carolina law. David Longstreet spoke to Emma’s Law supporters at a State House rally April 2 as Columbia Fire Chief Aubrey Jenkins (standing, far right) looked on. (photo by Allen Wallace) The South Carolina Senate approved the bill unanimously Wednesday. Senators had approved it once before but had…

State Republican Party balks at fees for public records regarding Richland County elections office

The South Carolina Republican Party denounced the actions of Richland County officials Thursday for failing to release information regarding state Sen. Joel Lourie’s involvement in the county’s elections office. State GOP Party Chairman Matt Moore called the county ombudsman’s request for $1036.86 for emails, phone messages and other communication between Lourie and county election board members “outrageous.” “Charging in excess…

Gov. Nikki Haley, Sen. Vincent Sheheen urge Obama administration to fund Aiken County nuclear waste disposal plant

Gov. Nikki Haley and state Sen. Vincent Sheheen recently agreed that the federal government is not upholding its agreement to fund a nuclear waste project that could affect over 1,800 South Carolinians. Nikki Haley speaks out Tuesday against the federal government’s decision to decrease funding for the MOX nuclear waste facility. (photo provided) Haley, along with U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson,…

Gov. Nikki Haley signs new military homeowners tax bill

Gov. Nikki Haley gave tax relief to South Carolina’s military families after she signed a new bill that would preserve active duty service members’ property tax rate on unsold homes. The Military Homeowner Protection Act of 2014 guarantees that active duty soldiers who are required to move to fulfill orders would maintain the 4 percent property tax assessment granted to…

Former Richland Two School District teacher, deputy superintendent to run for state superintendent of education

Meka Childs plans to run on the Republican ticket for state superintendent of education. (photo provided) Another Midlands resident has announced intentions to run for state superintendent of education ahead of the official filing period. Meka Childs, a former Richland Two School District teacher and recent deputy administrator at the South Carolina Department of Education, is planning to run on…

USC professor to run for state superintendent of education

Don Jordan will run for state Superintendent of Education. (photo provided) A USC professor is one the latest to state intentions to file as candidate for state Superintendent of Education and replace current superintendent Mick Zais. The outgoing superintendent announced in December that he would not seek another term. A Camden native, Don Jordan became a professor at the University…

S.C. school administrators association director enters state superintendent race

Molly Spearman has announced her bid for state Superintendent of Education. (photo provided) The Republican ticket for state superintendent of education is getting crowded as another GOP candidate has declared her intention to run. Current superintendent Dr. Mick Zais announced in December that he would not seek another term. Molly Spearman has been the executive director of the South Carolina…

Ed Greenleaf launches campaign for U.S. House seat on promise to put constituents first

Richland County resident Ed Greenleaf told supporters at a Tuesday campaign launch event that U.S. House District 2 deserves a congressman who would create jobs and put constituents first. Ed Greenleaf kicks off his campaign for the District 2 congressional seat. (photo by Kelly Petty) “We can vote for the same person who’s held the office for 13 years. And…

State Senate Education Subcommittee holds vote on Common Core bill to consider ‘compromise’

The South Carolina Senate’s K-12 Education Subcommittee chose during a Wednesday meeting to delay a vote on legislation that would repeal Common Core State Standards. The decision came after Sen. Mike Fair introduced a proposed amendment to SB 300, which would repeal Common Core. “For me it was a compromise with myself,” Fair told the committee. “This is where many…

Ready for Hillary group holds Columbia fundraiser

The next United States presidential election is more than two-and-a-half years away, and Hillary Clinton has not yet announced whether she will be a candidate, but a vocal group of supporters gathered Thursday night in Columbia to let the former U.S. Secretary of State, senator and first lady know they want her to be in the race. Rep. Bakari Sellers…

Conservation Voters of South Carolina endorse Vincent Sheheen for governor

The non-partisan Conservation Voters of South Carolina announced Tuesday its endorsement of state Sen. Vincent Sheheen for governor of South Carolina. State Sen. Vincent Sheheen accepted the CVSC endorsement for governor Tuesday. (photo by Allen Wallace) CVSC Executive Director Ann Timberlake said the organization plans to do more than ever before to support their chosen candidate in this year’s election….

Gov. Nikki Haley signs bill allowing concealed firearms in bars, restaurants into law

South Carolina law officially allows licensed concealed weapon carriers to bring guns into bars and restaurants unless the establishments specifically prohibit them. Gov. Nikki Haley signed the bill into law Tuesday. It allows gun owners who have a state-issued Concealed Weapons Permit to carry a concealed firearm into any bar or restaurant that does not have a sign posted prohibiting…

U.S. House candidate Ed Greenleaf postpones campaign kick-off event

Richland County resident Ed Greenleaf will go up against U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson for the 2nd congressional district seat in the November election. (photo courtesy of VoteGreenleaf2014) The campaign of Richland County resident Ed Greenleaf announced Monday that it had postponed its kick-off event that was scheduled for this Wednesday. The campaign launch instead will be held Feb. 25 at…

Richland County resident Ed Greenleaf will face off against U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson for congressional seat

U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson will face some competition this fall from with a newcomer to the political scene. Richland County resident Ed Greenleaf has announced his run for the seat that Wilson has occupied since 2001. Richland County resident Ed Greenleaf will go up against U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson for the congressional District 2 seat in the November election. (photo…

South Carolina government restructuring bill becomes law

A bipartisan bill that restructures South Carolina’s government officially became law Wednesday after a ceremonial signing by Gov. Nikki Haley. Gov. Nikki Haley, flanked by legislators and the family of Gov. Carroll Campbell, speaks at Wednesday’s bill signing. (photo by Allen Wallace) The new law, sponsored by gubernatorial challenger state Sen. Vincent Sheheen and others, creates a Department of Administration…

Sheheen pushes for ethics reform, calls for ‘ethical leadership’ beyond letter of law

The South Carolina legislature will discuss ethics this week, and Sen. Vincent Sheheen, D-Camden, wants to see some big changes made. Sen. Vincent Sheheen (photo provided) Sheheen will introduce and support bills calling for full disclosure of income by all elected officials, an end to use of state assets for campaign purposes and tighter rules for government officials becoming lobbyists….

Lexington attorney Amy Cofield announces bid for state superintendent of education

Lexington attorney Amy Cofield will run for state Superintendent of Education. (photo provided) Another Midlands resident has entered the race to replace state Superintendent of Education Mick Zais. Amy Cofield, who has lived in the Upstate but currently practices law in Lexington, announced Tuesday that she is running for the position. Zais previously stated his intentions not to seek reelection….

Democrats, teachers respond to Gov. Haley’s State of the State address

Gov. Nikki Haley’s political opponents are voicing objections to her State of the State address, but at least one teachers’ group expressed excitement. Rep. James Smith, D-Richland County, gave the official Democratic response to Haley’s speech, saying her education reform plan comes too late. “Leadership makes public education job one, day one,” Smith said. “Instead of waiting four years, until…

Education activist announces run for state education superintendent seat

Sheri Few (photo provided) In the midst of pushing for the repeal of Common Core, a Kershaw resident has announced her bid for State Superintendent of Education. Sheri Few, president and CEO of South Carolina Parents Involved in Education, is the second person to join the race. Rep. Andy Patrick, a Hilton Head resident and Republican, announced his intention to…