Palmetto Sunrise: Senate leader aims for early state budget timeline

Sen. Hugh Leatherman, R-Florence, said Wednesday he expected the state budget to be written by the end of today. (AP Photo/Sean Rayford)

COLUMBIA — Even after spending all of Wednesday talking about the state’s pension plan and a roads proposal, the chairman of the Senate’s budget-writing panel is optimistic that they’ll finish South Carolina’s roughly $7.5 billion budget by today.

The chairman of the Senate Finance Committee — Senate President Pro Tempore Hugh Leatherman, R-Florence — told his panel colleagues he planned on having the budget done by today to avoid having to come in to finish it on Friday.

Leatherman has been hopeful the budget will be written by the end of the week, so that it can be sent to the floor by Tuesday. That would give senators the required amount of time to review the state budget, so that they can start debate by April 28.

Another piece of information we learned on Wednesday: Leatherman hasn’t had the time to give thought to who he will appoint to the conference committee that will hash out the differences between the versions of the roads bill the Senate and the House of Representatives passed.

In other news:

Gov. Nikki Haley, Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott spar over domestic violence pledge (The Post and Courier)

New roads bill advances in Senate, swells to $4 billion (The Post and Courier)

Want Viagra? Come back tomorrow with a note, lawmaker says (The Associated Press)

House panel stalls on Century Aluminum bill, putting Mount Holly’s future in doubt (The Post and Courier)

Senators face pension fund investment issues (The Greenville News)

S.C. Democratic Party chairman: Sanders’ campaign rhetoric offensive to Southerners (The Post and Courier)

Citadel to allow cadets with state permits to have guns in cars (The Post and Courier)

Rotting bananas trigger protest for diversity at Clemson (The Associated Press)

Sanders’ campaign says he’ll stay a Democrat after election (Politico)

Why Trump Could Triumph in Pennsylvania and Lose Most of Its Delegates (Bloomberg)

Kasich: ‘My Republican Party doesn’t like ideas’ (The Washington Post)