Originally created 01/13/04

South Carolina House, Senate sessions begin



COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Legislators returned to their desks Tuesday to discuss overhauling the state's civil lawsuit system, Gov. Mark Sanford's first executive budget and vetoes remaining from last year.

The political tensions were on display in a Legislature where all Senate and House seats will be up for election in November.

The lawsuit legislation brought out quick criticism from House Democrats in a caucus meeting before the gavels came down at noon in both chambers.

Sanford's budget already has found plenty of critics. That's particularly true among legislators whose districts include the University of South Carolina's two-year campuses in Allendale and Union. Sanford has proposed closing those two campuses.

"He'll have a fight on that," said Rep. Mike Anthony, D-Union.

House members also were expected to take up Sanford's budget vetoes from last year.

The Senate's session got off to a quiet start, literally, as the upper chamber was having technical sound problems.