Legislative week: emotions rise to the surface

This week at the State House was marked by a contrast of emotions: anger and sorrow.
Governor Mark Sanford stirred up a hornets’ nest a few weeks ago when he held a press conference to say that the senate budget writers were not being straight forward about the amount of money the state had at its disposal. Sanford and his former Chief of Staff Beaufort Senator Tom Davis said that there was $578 million which Finance Chair Hugh Leatherman had not revealed was there. Leatherman said Sanford was mistaken and called the notion that he was hiding money was “bull crap.”
On Wednesday Senate President Pro Tem Glenn McConnell took the Senate floor in Leatherman’s defense. “I have had enough of these bully politics and over the years I’ve learned when you confront a bully, sock him back!”
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McConnell said that a person whose salary is paid for with tax money shouldn’t call a senator dishonest. McConnell said that what the Governor is doing is a disservice to his office and to the people of the state. “I have never seen in the 29 years since I’ve been here a campaign as deliberate as what has been run every turn blaming this Legislature for something. I understand that part of that is politics, but this is wrong.”
Also this week senators heard testimony supporting tougher penalties for day care workers or caregivers who abuse children. Lawmakers are considering bill S.348 known as Kendra’s Bill. The measure is named for Kendra Gaddie, who suffered long term brain injury from abuse by her child care giver. The judiciary subcommittee heard from a number of witnesses including Heather McCarter whose three month old daughter was killed in 2001 in Chester County.
Mccarter could not hold back her tears as she spoke. “My child was left in the care of someone I trusted and my child was killed. The person that hurt my baby girl, who was only three months old, got five years probation and that’s not right.”
The bill now moves on to the Senate Judiciary Committee and is slated to be discussed Tuesday. Also on Tuesday, the House returns to work after a two week furlough.