Two former S.C. governors missed Jim Edwards' funeral, but with good excuses

Former Gov. and U.S. Sen. Fritz Hollings

Former Gov. and U.S. Sen. Fritz Hollings and former Gov. Jim Hodges missed Gov. Jim Edwards' funeral in Charleston on Monday, but both had good excuses.

Hollings is dealing with an uncomfortable leg inflammation that's keeping him somewhat hobbled. But he's still close with members of the Edwards family.

Edwards "built the Medical University," Hollings said last week during a phone interview. Hollings maintains an office at MUSC, where Edwards served as president for 17 years.

Hodges, meanwhile, had a previous commitment Monday but was in Charleston on Sunday night to meet with Edwards' widow, Ann, and several others. The low-key gathering Sunday was "the best chance to talk to the family," Hodges said.

Other ex-governors who attended the Charleston funeral service were Richard Riley, David Beasley, Mark Sanford and incumbent Nikki Haley.

Former state Sen. Robert Ford of Charleston is encouraging "every elected official in America" to see the new Hollywood production "Selma."

The film covers three dangerous months in 1965 when Martin Luther King Jr. led a call for equal voting rights by way of a march from Selma to Montgomery in Alabama. The march, in the face of white violence, led to President Lyndon Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

"As a young organizer I was arrested seven times during the Selma Movement," Ford said in an email blast last week. "I am sure that any elected official who sees this movie will understand why they are elected in the first place."

Ford said his message was particularly aimed at "elected officials who are people of color."

The movie stars David Oyelowo as King, and also features Oprah Winfrey and Cuba Gooding Jr.

Ford still faces legal troubles in 2015 after he was indicted this year on eight ethics-related charges tied to his former campaign accounts.

Fox News host Sean Hannity has joined a growing list of conservatives calling on House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, to step down, with some pushing for South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy to be his replacement.

Hannity said recently that it's "time for new dynamic leadership," naming Gowdy, R-Spartanburg, who has gained a following for leading the House select committee investigating the Benghazi attacks.

Despite the draft attempt, Gowdy's office says jumping to the top is not in the picture.

"Rep. Gowdy has said his time and attention will continue to be devoted to the work assigned to him," said his spokeswoman, Amanda Duvall. "He is not interested in any leadership positions and believes one can have influence without the title."

Hannity's criticism of Boehner is that he has snubbed and ignored conservatives "as evidenced by the recent 'cromnibus' budget deal he made with Obama, Reid and Hoyer," he said in a Breitbart News interview. "It's time he step aside for the good of country and the conservative movement."

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The start of 2015 will see members of the S.C. House Democratic Caucus holding their annual Charleston Retreat and Reception where they hope to raise cash for the upcoming year.

The retreat sponsorship levels are: platinum sponsor, $6,000; member, $3,500; friend of the caucus, $1,000; and individuals, $100.

Tyler Jones, spokesman for the caucus, said Columbia is the bigger cash cow region for House Democrats, but Charleston is still ripe.

"There's a lot of money in Charleston, and we like to take advantage of that," he said. At least 35 of the 46 Democrats in the S.C. House are expected to attend. The gathering is set for 6-8 p.m. Thursday at the Charleston Marriott Hotel, 170 Lockwood Blvd.

South Carolina isn't alone in having a number of goofy laws passed by the Legislature, such as dance halls being forbidden from operating on Sundays. But since most of the laws passed in 2014 took effect after the term ended in June or on the approval of the governor, there weren't a lot of new additions that took effect at the start of 2015.

Some of the laws that did cover unemployment benefits, taxes, consumer protection and dentistry regulations.

Compiled by reporter Schuyler Kropf