House overturns Haley’s Clemson veto, others

Gov. Nikki Haley

COLUMBIA — The South Carolina House on Monday voted to override most of the vetoes by Gov. Nikki Haley it’s considered thus far, including more than $2.1 million for her own alma mater, Clemson University.

House lawmakers voted overwhelmingly to override Haley’s decision to strike the funding for new positions at Clemson and its statewide research and extension services. The governor had called the amount excessive, saying the state’s investment in colleges should be focused on degree programs.

As he did last month, House Ways and Means Chairman Brian White, R-Anderson, said designations for museums and historic sites are about preserving the state’s history for future generations, also questioning why Clemson University, from which Haley graduated, was the only college to have funding vetoed.

“It seems like Clemson got picked on,” White said, also pointing out that some of the vetoed funding was intended for a Clemson program that supports South Carolina’s automotive industry, which Haley has frequently trumped.

Last month, Haley vetoed 87 items worth about $30 million from the Legislature’s budget package, saying she did not veto more because legislators did as she asked. It was the highest number of line-item vetoes Haley has issued in her five years as governor, but the dollar amount struck from the more than $7 billion plan for state taxes is the second lowest.

At the time, Haley said legislators deserve credit for putting more than $300 million of surplus toward roads but criticized earmarks for museums, parks, and other local projects.

Among the issues on which House lawmakers agreed with Haley included the veto of $100,000 earmarked for a particular vendor that works with the Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services to help former inmates re-enter the workforce.

On Monday, House lawmakers plowed through 48 of Haley’s 87 vetoes, adjourning debate on two of them without taking a vote. In its 33 overrides, the House restored all but $925,000 in state funding of the measures considered.

House lawmakers, also back in Columbia to determine what to do with the Confederate flag that flies in front of the Statehouse, return Tuesday for more debate. On Monday, the state Senate — which still must take up Haley’s vetoes — voted 37-3 to remove the flag. Haley has already said she’d sign such a bill.