Category Archives: Statehouse Libb

State Senate Boils Over with Official Business

"More ham, please" - Senator Jakie Knotts

The latest Statehouse stink has next to nothing to do with the ongoing Tea Party Revolution and nearly everything to do with pot liquor. That’s right, in a move that has some local congressman boiling mad, and others holding their noses, the South Carolina legislature on Tuesday declared the collard green the state’s official leafy vegetable.

The 30-12 senate vote in favor of the malodorous green was anything but a lock, as at least half of the naysaying Senators and several of the bill’s supporters freely admit they never eat their veggies.

Lexington County Senator and self-styled gastronome Jakie Knotts sponsored the bill, though he confesses he will “really only occasionally eat anything green—and only if it’s been [flavored with fatback, marinated in lard, wrapped in bacon and] cooked for at least a week [to remove all nutrients].”

As the Daily Circular reports, other senators—notably Aiken Republican Greg Ryberg— do eat their vegetables but can’t actually tell the difference between a leafy green and their mama’s funky-ass casserole. Referencing a 2007 senate decision to dump roughly $1 million in tax receipts into the Pee Dee’s beloved Musée de Haricot Vert, Ryberg suggested that the official state leafy green should perhaps be something else.

“What about the green bean?” Ryberg asked his colleagues in a failed attempt at humor.

Despite the poor comedic timing, which signals neither increased bipartisanship nor a justification for congressional salaries, the decision is nonetheless being touted by some statehouse watchers as a sign that the legislative process may be healthier than previously thought.

“I’m just [impressed] as all heck we [returned from] Hudson’s [Smokehouse] in time [to vote],” said one senator who asked to remain anonymous lest people recognize him for the illiterate moron he, in fact, is. “Most days, we ain’t even [finished] the [ba]nana puddin[g] by now.”

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Fact-Check: ‘The State’ on S.C. Legislature

As The State reported this morning, the S.C. legislature is at it again today – trying to wrap up the latest session of the General Assembly before Sen. Jake ‘Jakie’ Knotts calls anybody else a “raghead” or accidentally outs any more South Carolina Republican Party rednecks.

Surprisingly, Columbia’s daily coupon circular does a pretty good job outlining the day’s agenda. Nonetheless, ‘The Bug’ did notice a few gaps in their coverage, and a few places where the story behind the story failed to get mentioned, probably because The State’s three-man staff is all in Omaha this week, cheering on Cocky.

Here’s what the Shop Road gang left out:

Voter I.D. Bill

The State says:

The S.C. Senate approved a plan that would require voters to present a photo ID at the polls. But House members aren’t likely to go along, meaning a two-year effort to pass a voter ID law is likely dead. The Senate bill creates a window starting 15 days before an election for no-excuses early voting, which must include at least one Saturday in statewide primaries and general elections. The joint House-Senate compromise allowed only seven days of early voting. The Senate bill allows counties to establish multiple early voting centers, while the House allows only one such center in each county. The Senate bill allows absentee voting on paper ballots any time before an election and by voting machine 30 days prior. The House version required a qualified elector to request an absentee ballot in person, rather than by mail or phone.

The State could be correct in its suggestion that the House will knock down a Senate-approved plan requiring voters to show an I.D. at the polls. They’re also not wrong in their rundown of the various compromises made thus far concerning such issues as absentee voting and paper ballots. What The State fails to mention is why the House really doesn’t like the Senate plan, and how last-minute politicking could swing the balance. Veteran Statehouse-watcher Daryl ‘Dizzy’ Homebody explains:

“What I’m hearing behind the scenes is that certain key members of the House think the Senate bill is really designed to punish U.S. Senate candidate Alvin Greene, who apparently doesn’t even have a military I.D. anymore,” says Homebody. “I’m also hearing the Greene camp is lobbying pretty hard on this one. At this point, it’s probably safest to say ‘anything’s possible.’

Transfer of Power

The State says:

The House and Senate must also settle differences on a bill that would automatically transfer power to the lieutenant governor when the governor is absent for an extended period. The bill, inspired by Gov. Mark Sanford’s disappearance last summer, would give the lieutenant governor authority to act in an emergency if the governor is away from the state and cannot perform his duties for 12 hours or longer. Lawmakers must agree on what actions constitute an emergency.

The State basically gets this one right, at least concerning how the bill came to be. What the paper fails to mention is that state lawmakers have no idea what an emergency is, or what constitutes an absentee governor. According to multiple sources, the entire state has been in a state of emergency since before Reconstruction and we haven’t had a governor who has actually resided on Planet Earth since Dick Riley.

“Looking at the past quarter century,” says one source, “I think we could have transferred power about 95% of the time. Of course, had we done that during Mr. Sanford’s term, we would have really had to haul ass to catch up with [Lt. Governor and notorious lead-foot] Andre Bauer.”

Expunging Criminal Records

This time, The State dropped the ball completely.

The State says:

The House and Senate must also settle differences in a bill that would order destroyed records of arrest when a criminal defendant is acquitted of a crime or a prosecutor decides to drop charges. Lawmakers are still settling on where and how long to keep records of arrest before they are expunged.

It’s not that The State reporters got the story itself wrong, more that they didn’t cover the real story, which once again goes back to nasty election year politics.

“This one’s got Alvin Greene written all over it,” says Homebody.

“The Republicans I’ve talked to say they want to keep Greene’s pending pornography charge on record no matter what the courts decide, and may even want to find a few other charges. State Democrats want to see Greene summarily arrested, transferred to solitary confinement and expunged so completely from the public record that it will appear as though he never even existed.”

More Sanford Vetoes

In this instance, The State is trying to make a news story out of something that nobody who still resides in The Palmetto State would ever mistake for news.

The State says:

Senate lawmakers have more gubernatorial vetoes to consider today. Gov. Mark Sanford has enjoyed his best session yet at striking spending from the state budget. House lawmakers agreed with 51 of Sanford’s 107 spending cuts. The Senate is about halfway through voting on whether they will agree with the House on the cuts it rejected. Among the Sanford cuts the Senate could reject today with a two-thirds vote are:

• Millions of dollars in money the S.C. Department of Revenue is expected to raise that would support public defenders, Wil Lou Gray Opportunity School for at-risk youth and transportation money for the S.C. Education Department.

• $100,000 for the S.C. Commission for the Blind

• $3.1 million to Clemson and S.C. State universities for the schools’ public service programs that give local farmers technical assistance.

Yes, our fact-checkers here at ‘The Bug’ say The State got the facts right, but beyond that, there’s really nothing to report here. Sanford vetoed money for important public agencies, including one that protects the justice system, another that helps our farmers and another that serves the blind? The House did some grandstanding, and now the Senators must each decide what will be in their best interest come November? We could have reported this without even turning on the computer.

–Posted by Bubba Libb

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Self-Proclaimed Redneck Fears for State G.O.P.

In his ongoing effort to speak intelligently following his recent misuse of the racial slur “raghead” to describe Republican gubernatorial candidate Nikki Haley, who is of Indian descent, Senator Jake “Jakie” Knotts (R-Lexington) has acknowledged that he is himself “a redneck.”

The comments were made on the Senate floor while the legislature was meeting to discuss whether or not to override Governor Mark Sanford’s spate of line item budget vetoes and left many in the room speechless.

What surprised most observers, however, wasn’t that Knotts actually noticed his own cultural identity, which most statehouse watchers agree is abundantly obvious, but that he seems to understand so much about the makeup of his own party.

“If all of us rednecks leave the Republican Party, the party is going to have one hell of a void,” said Knotts.

According to University of South Carolina political science professor N.O. Duhh, who is from northern Minnesota but who state legislators from both sides of the aisle frequently refer to as “a damn Canuck,” that level of awareness is unusual for a Lexington County Republican.

“Usually, these guys can barely find the Gervais Street bridge,” said Duhh. “For Knotts to make such an astute observation about his own peer group, especially about those members from other parts of the Palmetto State, is a sign that he’s really making progess.”

“By the next election,” Duhh adds, “he may even acknowledge that his redneck party is 95% of the reason this state consistently finds itself at the bottom of such an abysmally deep shit hole.”

-Posted by Bubba Libb

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