Power shifts; Alexander now South Carolina Senate president

 COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – The first president of the South Carolina Senate stepped aside from his role overseeing the entire chamber to became chairman of the committee that writes the state budget. For Sen. Harvey Peeler controlling the state’s purse is more powerful than controlling debate enforcing rules and making some appointments in the GOP-dominated chamber. Peeler turned over the purple robe and gavel Monday to Sen. Thomas Alexander, a Republican from Walhalla. The change in power was put into motion after Senate Finance Committee Chairman Hugh Leatherman died last month.

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