COLUMBIA - Six members from the House and Senate have been tasked with hashing out the differences in a bill that could establish the Lowcountry's first comprehensive research university.
Sens. Darrell Jackson, D- Hopkins, Sen. Thomas Alexander, R-Walhalla, and Senate Majority Leader Harvey Peeler, R-Gaffney, have been appointed by the Senate, while the House has appointed Reps. Brian White, R-Anderson, Jim Merrill, R-Charleston, and Gilda Cobb-Hunter, D-Orangeburg.
The bill that would create an expanded University of Charleston and fulfill a decades-long goal of a comprehensive research university in the area is attached to another related matter. Called the Clemson University Enterprise Act, it would allow Clemson and perhaps other schools less state oversight in pursuing capital projects.
The bill is controversial in its own right. Sen. Larry Grooms, R-Charleston, has said he has heard that even supporters of the Charleston-related measure may try to block the act, which some say would offer too much autonomy for Clemson. Since the two go together, that could also mean the end for the U of C bill.
The members of the committee are expected to meet Tuesday at 2 p.m. They will consider both versions of the bill. The House version contains the language Grooms has been pushing for.
"The (members) have been sworn to look at all the data objectively and make an informed decision that is in the best interest of the state, without personality conflicts and without regional differences being considered," Grooms said. "We live another day and there are high expectations of successful passage of this legislation once we return June 17."
Cynthia Roldan can be reached at 708-5891.