Thursday, March 6, 2014

Lowcountry legislators turn against CofC-MUSC bill

About face

Posted by Chris Haire on Thu, Mar 6, 2014 at 3:15 PM

The Charleston Regional Business Journal reports today that four Lowcountry politicians who previously supported a CofC-MUSC merger no longer want to be associated with the two bills. One reason: The public ain't happy. Ashley Barker reports:

On Tuesday, Rep. William “Bill” Crosby, R-North Charleston, requested to be removed from the sponsor list of H 4632. He said when the bill initially came out, he was asked to support it by the Charleston delegation. As he looked into the deal more, he determined there was not enough information to make a decision.

“I’d like to see us do a little bit longer and a more detailed study of exactly what we are wanting to do,” Crosby said. “At the present time, I don’t think I ought to be supporting it.”

Crosby said the merger should be between the College of Charleston and the Charleston School of Law. The InfiLaw System is currently waiting on approval from the state’s Commission on Higher Education for a license to purchase and operate the Charleston School of Law. Crosby doesn’t think it will receive approval from the commission...

He said the proposed merger between MUSC and CofC doesn’t have enough people supporting it.

“The majority of people feel like it’s best for that not to happen at the present time,” he said. “We don’t have strong feelings of support from the schools.”
Barker also notes:
On Feb. 18, Rep. Robert L. Brown, D-Hollywood, Rep. David Mack III, D-North Charleston, and Rep. Mike Sottile, R-Isle of Palms, requested they no longer be listed as sponsors.

Brown said that when he first signed on as a co-sponsor, he was under the impression that the merger had already been worked out between the college and MUSC leaders.

“Now that I’m learning there’s still some differences, I thought it would be good for me not to be a co-sponsor,” Brown said. “I’m undecided. I want to listen to the debates over it, and I’m just not sure if I’m going to support it or not.”

I must say that this comes as a shock. After all, we've got an equal number of Republicans and Democrats turning against the bill, which tends to suggests that sentiment at the Statehouse, at least among the Lowcountry delegation, is shifting.

Now, whether we have a full-fledged Holy City mutiny or not, is certainly up in the air, but if that does happen, one's got to wonder if the merger's three main sponsors — Leon Stavrinakis, Jim Merrill, and Larry Grooms — will go down with the ship or jump overboard and swim as far away from this political disaster as possible.

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