New Legislative Session, Old Problems

Lawmaker: "We're dysfunctional"

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By Monique Williams

Columbia, S.C. (WOLO) -- As much as state lawmakers on both sides differ on everything from jobs, to health care, to education, there is one thing they all agree on. With the start of this new 2014 legislative session, comes old problems.

As State House Speaker Bobby Harrell banged the gavel to signal the start of the session, he did so under a cloud of suspicion. The republican joins others from both parties who have found themselves under investigation into possible ethics violations. Allegations against Harrell have been turned over to a grand jury. At least one law maker believes this recent incident should be more than enough to execute ethics reform.

Among other items lawmakers need to address include more than $100 million in new money Governor Nikki Haley wants to earmark for education improvements. Some legislators, though are slow to accept that part of her proposed budget.

Two new items include a domestic violence bill and a possible deletion of the state's income tax.

The domestic violence bill is sponsored by Democratic Representative Bakari Sellers. He claims it would be the first of its kind in the state to address what he calls an ongoing epidemic. South Carolina ranks at the top in the number of states of women killed by men. Republican Senator Katrina Shealy is proposed the state rid itself of income taxes over a period of five years, she says, to bring more business to South Carolina and 'put more money in the pockets' of individuals.'

Proposed bills that don't become law by the time the session ends this summer, essentially die and would have to be re-introduced next year.

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