Palmetto Sunrise: Senate panel meets for budget-related talks

Sens. Nikki Setlzer (left), D-West Columbia, and Hugh Leatherman (right), R-Florence, will return to Columbia today to vote on the advancement on a resolution that continues to fund state government past July 1.

COLUMBIA — A Senate panel will meet this morning to vote on the advancement of a bill that would keep the state funded at current levels past July 1, after a different panel failed to reach an agreement on the budget earlier this week.

Senate President Pro Tempore and Finance Committee Chairman Sen. Hugh Leatherman, R-Florence, said Monday he would stress the need for the advancement of the continuing resolution that would ensure “all of the obligations of the state are met and state employees are being paid.”

The resolution is needed to avoid a government shutdown, if lawmakers don’t pass the state’s roughly $7 billion budget by the start of the fiscal year on July 1. The meeting starts at 11 a.m.

But Rep. James Smith, D-Columbia, issued a statement on Tuesday calling on senators to “do their job,” and instead just pass the budget. The resolution, however, originated in the House in late May and received a unanimous vote on May 28 — including Smith’s.

“At this stage of the legislative session, a vote for a continuing resolution is a vote to delay a roads bill for another year,” Smith said in a written statement. “And we simply can’t afford to wait another year. We’re elected to fix these problems and all our leaders want to do is avoid them. It’s time to get to work and do our jobs.”

The roads, bill, however, is dead for this legislative year. Senators failed to debate the bill before the official end of the legislative session on June 4. The resolution they passed that calls them back to Columbia for a special session next week does not include the roads bill as an issue they will tackle.

In other news:

Haley to sign police body camera bill in N. Charleston (The Post and Courier)

Haley lauds state, discusses future goals (The Aiken Standard)

Lewis elected Berkeley County sheriff (The Post and Courier)

Mayoral candidates express strong support for the arts (The Post and Courier)

Rice talks transportation infrastructure (Morning News)

Lawsuit claims public colleges discriminate against children of undocumented immigrants (The Post and Courier)

S.C. State officials making case for accreditation (The Times and Democrat)

Presidential Candidate List Gets Longer: 366+ (The New York Times)

Graham: ‘We’ll have a rotating First Lady’ (Daily Mail)

Christie sounds like he’s running in New Hampshire (The Associated Press)