COLUMBIA — South Carolina House rookies spent Tuesday finding out what to expect in their freshmen terms.
The cast of seven Democrats and 16 Republicans elected Nov. 4 includes state Rep. Tim Scott, the first black Republican winning a House seat since reconstruction ended.
The former chairman of Charleston County Council also is the first Republican people can remember in the Legislative Black Caucus, said Rep. Leon Howard, a Columbia Democrat who chairs the caucus.
"We're glad to have him," Howard said of Scott.
Mingling at the start of the orientation session was Rep. Anne Peterson Hutto, a Charleston Democrat who defeated incumbent Republican Rep. Wallace Scarborough by just over 200 votes.
Scarborough is challenging that outcome and Hutto said she'll just be glad when that's over.
It was old school, though, for Rep. Rita Allison, R-Lyman. Allison gave up the Spartanburg County seat she had held from 1993 to 2002 and made an unsuccessful bid for lieutenant governor.
She won her House seat back when Republican Rep. Joe Mahaffey decided not to run again.
House Speaker Bobby Harrell, R-Charleston, called Allison a redshirt freshman.
Allison and Hutto were among a half-dozen women freshmen.
While the House's Women's Caucus grew by four members to 17, no woman won a race in the Senate for the first time in 30 years, making it the nation's only males-only upper chamber.
Harrell told the freshmen they'd quickly get rid of the idea that serving in the Legislature is a three-day-a-week part-time job from January to June.
The freshmen and other House members will be sworn in Dec. 2 when the House holds its organizational session.
By then, Harrell will decide which committees the rookies will serve on.