Palmetto Sunrise: Senate back in session this week

The South Carolina Statehouse

COLUMBIA -- State senators start the sprint portion of the legislative session when they return to the capital city on Tuesday.

The senators return with election filings now complete, providing them a clear view of their reelection chances and whether they can strike bipartisan compromises without spooking their bases too badly. The first issue will be ethics reform, which is the final bill with priority debate status in the chamber.

With a Statehouse corruption investigation hitting the rocks recently, the ethics bill-- which creates an independent panel to lead investigations of potential misdeeds by lawmakers instead of having individual ethics committees for the House and Senate--is expected to gain momentum, Cynthia Roldan reports.

Gov. Nikki Haley is already gearing up for the debate on the issue that has been one of her top priorities for years.

“Legislators are either for ethics or they are not,” Haley wrote on her Facebook page recently.

The Senate also begins work on the $7.5 billion budget that the House passed on March 23 before taking a two-week break.

Senate budget subcommittees will meet throughout the week and report back to the full Senate Finance Committee next week when deliberations get underway. Floor debate is scheduled for the last week of April and first week of May.

The budget is scheduled to return to the House the week of May 10, which is less than a month until session ends on June 2.

Today’s headlines:

Lawmakers, Gov. Nikki Haley push for ethics reform (The Post and Courier)

The Duel: Feuding prosecutors, and the meltdown of an ethics probe (The Post and Courier)

GOP rivals try to line up S.C. delegates in case of contested convention (The Post and Courier)

Senator shuts door on more gun hearings this year (The Greenville News)

Database would track refugees in South Carolina if passed (The Morning News)

‘Walter Scott effect’: North Charleston traffic stops cut in half after shooting, but is it the lasting change critics seek? (The Post and Courier)

Former Post and Courier editorial writer gets shout-out from Obama in Argentina (The Post and Courier)

Gov. Nikki Haley’s gift haul hits record (The State)

Some Upstate counties finding paving sticker shock (The Greenville News)

Audit cites SC school-choice nonprofit for unlawful grants to donors (The Herald)

Candidates for Anderson-area Senate seat say turnout is key to GOP runoff (Independent Mail)

Confederate Flag Debate Could Snarl House Republicans—Again (Bloomberg)

Control of state courts becomes a top political battleground (AP)

Democrats make halting progress in Supreme Court clash (POLITICO)

Clinton prepares for Trump’s insult machine, which has already turned her way (The Washington Post)

Tension endures a year after black man shot by South Carolina officer (Reuters)

Battleground Wisconsin: A Trump loss to Cruz could reshape GOP race (The Washington Post)

Ryan on GOP nomination talk: ‘Get my name out of that’ (POLITICO)

The Panama Papers: Massive leak reveals offshore accounts of world leaders (The Center for Public Integrity)

RNC chairman: ‘I don’t know’ if Trump is strongest candidate (The Hill)