South Carolina House overrides Haley vetoes on rape crisis funding, teacher pay raises, governor's schools for gifted students

COLUMBIA — The South Carolina House voted Tuesday to override 51 of Gov. Nikki Haley’s 81 budget vetoes.


Legislators voted to restore $10 million for teacher pay raises, $10 million for Commerce’s deal-closing fund, $3 million for rural infrastructure, and $454,000 to support rape crisis centers.

The House also moved to reopen two agencies eliminated by Haley’s vetoes – the state Arts Commission and Sea Grant Consortium.

The overrides now depend on the Senate, which returns today.

The 30 vetoes upheld by the House reduce the Legislature’s $6.8 billion combined budget and reserve spending plans by less than $4 million.

They include items Haley calls local earmarks, such as $30,000 for an Irmo park, $100,000 for a fire station in Andrews and $300,000 for a museum in North Myrtle Beach.

Legislators voted unanimously to override Haley’s veto of $454,000 to support rape crisis centers around the state. The 111-0 vote would restore the money to be disbursed to the 15 nonprofits that last year helped 5,000 people.

Lawmakers say they were disappointed by the language Haley used in her veto. She referred to that veto and several others on health care as add-on items that distract from the public health agency’s larger mission.

Republican Rep. Joan Brady, of Colum­bia, says survivors of rape are a priority, not a distraction.

The House also voted 113-1 to restore $10 million for teacher pay raises, and to expand public residential schools for gifted students. The money would help districts pay for mandated 2 percent salary increases. House Majority Leader Kenny Bingham says local property taxes might otherwise go up.

The chamber voted 109-3 to restore $1.2 million to hire more teachers at the Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics in Hartsville. The money would enable the school to enroll 300 students, bringing it to capacity.

A 97-8 vote would restore $1.25 million to build an admissions building and add programs at the Governor’s School for Arts and Humanities in Greenville.

By a 110-5 vote, House members also moved to restore $1.9 million for the state Arts Commission’s operations.

They voted 102-10 to restore $428,000 to the Sea Grant Consortium.