House conservatives emboldened

Remember that story about Mark Meadows losing his House sub committee chairmanship when Jason Chaffetz took it away after Meadows voted against Leadership? And then it was restored?

Here’s what happened…

Scott Wong at TheHill.com reports:

The Freedom Caucus could be uniquely positioned to be a kingmaker in the next round of leadership contests.

Since its founding earlier this year, the group of approximately four dozen members has seen its stature grow, even as it keeps its membership a secret.

The fight over Meadows also suggests the Tea Party rebels, long an irritant to Team Boehner, are growing more organized.

To help Meadows reclaim his gavel, caucus members with backgrounds in the weeds of parliamentary procedures hit the books and discovered that GOP conference rules only allow a committee chairman to appoint subcommittee chairmen if a majority of the panel’s members don’t object. Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz’s panel, they noted, was packed with Freedom Caucus members and their allies, including Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), a leader of the group.

Armed with that knowledge, conservatives realized they could force Chaffetz (R-Utah) to reinstate Meadows, who had been removed for bucking GOP leaders on a crucial trade vote.

Over the course of several discussions, including a late-night meeting in the basement of Capitol Hill’s Tortilla Coast restaurant, Jordan and other caucus members hatched a plan: Call a closed-door, members-only meeting of the Oversight Committee and demand that Chaffetz reinstate Meadows. Otherwise the Subcommittee on Government Operations would remain leaderless, caucus members said.

The strategy worked.

“They went to the books and looked up the rules and realized that we have rights,” Rep. John Fleming (R-La.), another caucus co-founder, said in a phone interview Wednesday. “A committee chairman can’t just do anything he wants to do, even when directed by the Speaker.”

Go the link above and read the rest of the article.

Click HERE and HERE for previous posts about the Freedom Caucus in which SC’s Mick Mulvaney plays a part.

July 3, 2015  Tags: ,   Posted in: Uncategorized  No Comments

Madison Project Grassroots Activist Trainings

We have not had any formal training workshops for a year or so. We did a campaign boot camp about 3 years back, we had a Blog Con, we did a Constitution Class for a year and a half.

I need to know … who would sign up for some Strategy … Organizing … Precinct … Campaign … training if we hosted it? We won’t move forward unless we can commit 25 people to attend, because it is just not worth bringing in the resources.

I like the Madison Project, have known about them for years, they are reliable and this is good info. Good for long time activists, and folks who recently decided “I want to do MORE!”

Please take a look at this info and let me know, either in comments or with an email to info@spartanburgteaparty.org whether you would attend. A serious commitment please, as I’d be responsible for letting them know and I want to be fair to them. Please reply ASAP. Here’s an overview:

1. Trainings will cover topics like Building Coalitions, Campaign Strategies, State and Local Government Basics, Organizing a Movement, Becoming an Online Ninja, Keeping Your Elected Officials Accountable and much more!

2. A sample agenda for the training will look like 3 forty-five minute training sessions with a fifteen-minute break in between each one.

3. We would provide a venue for meeting. The cost for each participant would be $10-$15 so we can provide a snack/meal for them.

4. Drew Ryun, the Political Director for Madison Project, would be the one presenting the trainings. You can read his bio here: http://madisonproject.com/about-us/

5. We would need 25 people committed to the training to make it worth our time.

6. The materials will consist of an Activist Manual created and provided by the Madison Project. Attendees will not be charged for their manuals and will be able to keep them after the training.

8. We will be holding these trainings from September-November of this year (2015).

July 3, 2015   Posted in: Uncategorized  One Comment

27 states challenge Obama water rule in court

So glad to see South Carolina is on board!

Timothy Cama reports at TheHill.com:

Nine states sued the Obama administration Tuesday over its rule asserting power over small waterways like streams and wetlands, bringing the total number of states challenging the regulation to 27.

The lawsuit filed in a Savannah, Ga., federal court by state leaders in South Carolina and other states follows a trio of cases filed Monday by 18 other states.

The states in Tuesday’s lawsuit argue, similarly to those in the other cases, that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) violated the Clean Water Act, other laws and Supreme Court decisions when it declared that tributaries and other small waters are subject to federal jurisdiction and pollution control laws.

“The results of this rule will carry a tremendous cost to our state, our economy, and our families,” South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson said in a Tuesday statement.

“The EPA’s proposed expansion would bring many roadside ditches, small ponds on family farms, water features on golf courses, and storm water systems under extremely burdensome federal regulation,” he said.

The states joining South Carolina are West Virginia, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Utah and Wisconsin.

The EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers announced the final rule last month, with the goal of better clarifying which small water bodies like ponds, headwater and wetlands fall under federal power, a designation that could require permits for anything that harms or pollutes the water.

While the Clean Water Act gives federal officials power over navigable waters, the government has long recognized that a certain amount of upstream water must also be covered to protect the larger features.

The rule, dubbed “waters of the United States,” was published Monday in the Federal Register, a step that both made it official and opened it up for litigation.

Since they’re challenging the same regulation, the federal court system is likely to combine all four lawsuits into one.

July 2, 2015  Tags: ,   Posted in: Uncategorized  No Comments

Carolina Farm Stewardship Association on Haley’s Vetoes

Cibby Krell submitted this as a Guest Blog, information from the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association.

The S.C. General Assembly reached an agreement on a state budget last week that included important support for conservation, farming, forestry, local and healthy food access, and communities statewide. On Monday, Governor Haley released her veto message, which includes veto of funds important to the development of a sustainable, local food system in South Carolina. The General Assembly will return to work on Monday morning, July 6th to address the governor’s vetoes.
Please call or email your S.C. state Representative and state Senator THIS WEEK to ask that they vote to override the following vetoes:

1. Vetoes 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13: These vetoes eliminate new funding for the Cooperative Extension Service, specifically the Agribusiness & Emerging Farmers program, the Fruit and Vegetable Production program and the state 4-H Youth Agriculture and Natural Resources program. These funds were requested to strategically begin to rebuild Cooperative Extension after years of funding cuts in areas identified as necessary to serve the needs of the expanding SC agriculture industry.

2. Veto 34: The S.C. Healthy Food Financing Initiative would provide $250,000 in funding for a public-private partnership that would support local farmers and businesses by providing access to loans and grants to support the establishment, renovation or expansion of different food projects, including farm businesses, mobile markets, small food stores and grocery stores. CFSA has been a strong supporter of this appropriation, as it will help farms and food businesses that aren’t able to access more traditional grand and lending opportunities (for instance businesses that have a triple bottom line, which renders them unable to qualify for either grants or traditional business loans). Read more about our support for this appropriation, and about CFSA members who could benefit from this appropriation here.

3. Veto 40: South Carolina Department of Agriculture requested and the General Assembly approved $3.5 million to expand the Certified South Carolina Grown (CSC) Program. The Governor vetoed $2 million of the budgeted amount. The funds would support crop-specific advertising, educating buyers about the timing of crop availability, and teach consumers how to incorporate CSC products into daily meal planning. The department also plans to use the funds to create aggressive crop specific marketing and advertising for some ‘signature’ products like kale, collards, watermelons and tomatoes. Without this funding, SC will lose a chance to gain a competitive advantage for the state’s farmers by promoting locally grown products to SC consumers.

If you call and are unable to speak directly to your legislators, leave a message either with the staff member who takes your call, or on the voicemail, asking your Representative and your Senator to support an overrides of the following vetoes. To identify your state representative and senator and find their contact information, please visit:
http://www.scstatehouse.gov/legislatorssearch.php.

When you call or email, you may use this outline:

1. Introduce yourself (first and last name) and explain that you are a constituent of the Senator/Representative (if you are a farmer, be sure to mention that you are actively involved in farming).

2. Say that you are calling or emailing because you are asking your Senator or Representative to support override of Vetoes 9 through 13, 34 and 40.

3. Say that you support the override of these veto because (use one or more of the following reasons, or come up with your own):

• Vetoes 9-13: “Please vote to override Vetoes #9, 10, 11, 12 and 13, which eliminate funding for the Cooperative Extension Service, specifically the Agribusiness & Emerging Farmers program, the Fruit and Vegetable Production program and the state 4-H Youth Agriculture and Natural Resources program. These priorities were specifically requested to help rebuild the Cooperative Extension program to serve the needs of the expanding SC agriculture industry–the leading economic engine in our state.”
• Veto 34: “Please vote to override Veto #34, the S.C. Healthy Food Financing Initiative. If funded, this initiative would increase investment in farms and food businesses that expand access to healthy, locally grown food. This initiative will spur economic development, create jobs and increase the property values of the neighborhoods that benefit from increased access to healthy, local food, all while supporting farming businesses throughout the state.”
• Veto 40: “Please vote to override Veto #40. The Governor’s message is incorrect: SCDA never committed to a plan that would only fund the South Carolina Grown marketing campaign for 5 years. The SC Grown campaign provides the state’s farmers with a tangible benefit by increasing sales by promoting SC grown products and helps create market of local buyers for produce grown here. Override the veto to continue to support our farmers and locally grown food.”

4. Say, “Thank you.”

If you feel nervous about making a phone call, watch CFSA’s “How To Call Your Representative” video to learn how easy it can be to call your elected officials.

Thanks for all that you do,
The CFSA Policy Team

July 2, 2015   Posted in: Uncategorized  No Comments

free seminar for parents interested in homeschooling

This is a GREAT service presented by some folks in the Upstate!

A free seminar for parents interested in homeschooling will take place in Easley, SC later in July. Parents who are thinking about homeschooling, or parents who recently started to homeschool, are encouraged to attend.

Date: Tuesday, July 21, 2015 at 7:00 PM

Location: Easley First Wesleyan Church, 104 West 6th Avenue, Easley, SC 29640
The church has a play area and a supervised nursery area will also be available if requested.

We have invited Kelly Rowe of the SC Home Educators Association and Kristi Brooks of Christian Home Educators of Easley to speak to parents about their choices and decisions in homeschooling. Topics will cover the law with regard to home education, curriculum options, costs, commitment of time, resources available, and the networks of homeschool parents and associations that offer support. The goal of the event is to inform parents of an option they have when deciding the best education choice for their children.

The event will be available through online streaming video as well.

We will have information and updates online at www.conservativesoftheupstate.com.

For more information call (864) 230-0084.

This event is presented by Conservatives Of The Upstate.

July 2, 2015   Posted in: Uncategorized  No Comments

ObamaCare will punish businesses who help employees with health care

Didja know? I didn’t. It. Never. Ends.

According to FoxNews:

Employers who reimburse their workers for health care costs will face massive tax penalties beginning Wednesday.

Prior to the passage of the Affordable Care Act, with its mandate that all Americans purchase insurance and requirement for businesses to offer employees insurance plans, many small companies provided coverage by directly reimbursing medical costs or for the cost of private insurance plans. Businesses do it because that’s a less complicated process than dealing with an official health insurance plan, but continuing to do so after July 1 could cost them hundreds of dollars in fines each day.

Business groups are calling attention to what they say is an obscure part of Obamacare that could crush small businesses who are unaware of it.

“It’s the biggest penalty that no one is talking about,” said Kevin Kuhlman, policy director for the National Federation of Independent Businesses, on Tuesday.

The penalties will only affect businesses with less than 50 employees. Those with more than 50 employees are already required to offer a health insurance plan.

The new rule is the result of an Internal Revenue Service interpretation of part of the ACA. It seems intended to force employers to offer a group health insurance plan (or leave their employees to fend for themselves on the health insurance exchanges).

July 1, 2015   Posted in: Uncategorized  No Comments

first meeting of the Citizen’s Committee on Firearm Discharge

Have you thanked Roger Nutt recently for the hours he spends making sure we get videos of County/local government meetings? May I suggest sending a case of Mountain Dew his way? (would that be ethical under State Ethics laws? Okay just buy him an ice cream … or CUPCAKES!)

Here is the first meeting of the Citizen’s Committee on Firearm Discharge

July 1, 2015   Posted in: Uncategorized  One Comment

Haley’s vetoes – $30 million

reported by SEANNA ADCOX (AP) at SHJ:

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley thanked legislators Tuesday after issuing 87 budget vetoes that strike $30 million from the Legislature’s budget package.

It was the highest number of line-item vetoes Haley has issued in her five years as governor, but the dollar amount struck from the more than $7 billion plan for state taxes is the second lowest.

CLICK HERE for Haley’s official letter with all vetoes and explanations.

Here’s a partial list: (by the way you’ll note $300,000 for a Spartanburg Park project – STILL with the parks!)

—$75,000 for two new positions at the State Museum
—$2.1 million for new positions at Clemson University at its Public Service Activities across the state
—$712,000 for new positions at the Department of Education
—$200,000 to the Area Health Education Consortium at the Medical University of South Carolina for a study
—$1 million for the Arts Commission to give grants for art programs in public schools
—$40,000 to the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation to contract with The Citadel for a building codes study
—$250,000 to the University Center of Greenville
—$200,000 for IT-ology for a college computing course
—$400,000 to the South Carolina Center for Fathers and Families
—$100,000 through the Department of Probation, Pardon and Parole to a specific vendor for offenders’ re-entry preparation
—$100,000 for a playground for children with disabilities in Myrtle Beach
—$250,000 for Low Country Healthy Start
—$50,000 for Healthy Learners in Greenwood
—$200,000 for Osprey Village in Beaufort County
—$5 million to the Department of Health and Environmental Control for water quality grants
—$500,000 to the Department of Mental Health for relocating expenses from its property on Bull Street in Columbia
—$2 million to the Department of Agriculture to market “Certified SC” branding
—$300,000 maximum authorized for a study of state employees’ salaries
—$250,000 to renovate the Horry County Museum
—$500,000 to the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism for its Undiscovered SC grants
—$875,000 to the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism for sports marketing
—$100,000 for an indoor aquatic and community center in Richland County
—$125,000 for national marketing of a boyhood home of President Woodrow Wilson in Columbia
—$180,000 to renovate a former school into a community center in Calhoun County
—$400,000 for a green space initiative in Sumter
—$200,000 to the Columbia Museum of Art
—$100,000 for the Inman City Market
—$250,000 for a green space initiative in Manning
—$100,000 to promote the Mountain Lakes area in Oconee County
—$60,000 to the Newberry Opera House
—$1 million toward a new Congressional Medal of Honor Museum at Patriots Point
—$300,000 for the Palmetto Trail
—$300,000 for a Spartanburg park project
—$250,000 for the Township Auditorium in Columbia
—$200,000 for an Upstate 9/11 Memorial
—$200,000 to fire departments in Fairfield and Chester county
—$390,198 for a collection of Civil War artifacts for the Confederate Relic Room & Military Museum
—$10,000 for the Auntie Karen Foundation
—$90,000 for the Orangeburg County Fine Arts Center
—$1.5 million to the Department of Archives and History for restoring a building
—$100,000 for restoration at Fort Thicketty Revolutionary War site
—$100,000 for the Heyward House Historic Center in Bluffton
—$250,000 to the Department of Archives and History for architectural heritage preservation
—$250,000 to the Marion County Economic Development Commission
—$100,000 to the Richland County Economic Development Office
—$400,000 to the Rock Hill Knowledge Park
—$100,000 to the Williamsburg County Economic Development Board
—$500,000 for Hartsville downtown revitalization project

July 1, 2015   Posted in: Uncategorized  One Comment

Firearms Citizens Advisory Committee Meets

Chris Lavender at SHJ reports:

(I know Roger Nutt will have video for us soon!)

A Spartanburg County citizen’s advisory committee looking at restricting firearms use in neighborhoods met for the first time Tuesday evening.

Spartanburg County Council formed the group to help develop an ordinance after receiving complaints from residents about neighbors holding target practice with small-caliber guns in their backyards. Residents are concerned the practice is too dangerous in heavily populated areas.

Earlier this month, council formed the committee to look at the problem and come up with solutions. The city of Spartanburg has an ordinance that prohibits discharging a firearm within city limits, but there are no such restrictions in the county.

“In some cases, structures are hit and it can be a scary moment for citizens,” said Tim Metz of the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office.

Metz, who serves on the citizen’s advisory committee, told the group that it can be a problem when neighbors hear rounds hitting structures. He said when deputies respond to calls for firearms being discharged in neighborhoods, they are usually limited in what they can do to help.

Deputy County Administrator Jim Hipp, who serves as the committee’s temporary chairman, said during the past two years, the county’s 911 call center had received 2,600 calls from residents regarding firearms being discharged in their areas. He said the committee was asked by the county to review existing laws in other counties and make some recommendations.

But not everyone supports the county studying the problem. Some residents have said they don’t like having the county studying an ordinance that could limit what they do on their property.

Committee member Cibby Krell said he was “against invasive government” and encouraged those serving on the committee to have an open mind about the review process.

But another committee member said the group wasn’t formed to try to take away guns from residents. He said the group’s purpose is to come up with solutions.

County Deputy Attorney Ginny Dupont said she hasn’t found any existing statutes in other counties that address discharging firearms in densely populated neighborhoods. Chester, York and Richland counties do have statutes prohibiting the discharging of firearms within certain distances of buildings, Dupont said.

Hipp said the committee will discuss the issue through the summer and make a recommendation to County Council. There’s been no deadline given to the committee on when it must make its recommendation.

The committee is scheduled to meet again at 5 p.m. July 28 at the county administration building at 366 N. Church St., Spartanburg. All committee meetings are open to the public.

July 1, 2015   Posted in: Uncategorized  One Comment

High court may deal unions serious blow

BRIAN MAHONEY at Politico.com:

(because South Carolina loves Union busting news!)

The Supreme Court will have an opportunity next term to deal public sector unions a serious financial blow.

The court agreed Tuesday to hear Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, a case brought by 10 non-union California teachers who say that forcing them to pay “fair share fees” to a union — even if only for the purpose of collective bargaining — compels them to support an organization they oppose politically, in violation of their free speech rights.

The case is a blockbuster for both the court and the labor movement. Just days after the Supreme Court cheered unions and the rest of the liberal coalition by sanctioning gay marriage and the Affordable Care Act, the court chose to reconsider a privilege that public sector unions have enjoyed as a matter of settled law for four decades. The result may undermine drastically that same coalition.

An adverse ruling in Friedrichs could in effect require public unions to operate in all 50 states as they do in 25 so-called right-to-work states that forbid unions from collecting dues or their equivalent from non-members, even as those unions bargain collectively for members and non-members alike.

Public sector unions feared this day. Twice, Associate Justice Samuel Alito has stated in opinions of recent years that Abood v. Detroit Board of Ed., the 1977 case that established the constitutionality of fair share fees, was shaky. In a 2014 opinion in Harris v. Quinn, Alito said that precedent was “questionable on several grounds.”

Note: this case originates in … California! More at the link above.

June 30, 2015   Posted in: Uncategorized  No Comments