CITY BLIPS 


LAST WEEK'S COLUMBIA REPORT ·
The state Senate and the House squabbled over the various property tax reform bills circulating in the Statehouse, with a House committee submitting its own version onto to the full House. Reform supporters in the Senate want the House to first deal with a constitutional amendment referendum that could allow voters to decide how to drop property tax. Democrats in the state House replied, saying they wouldn't tackle the potentially bigger issue until the Senate devised a way to even out school funding between richer and poorer counties. Speaker of the House Bobby Harrell says, "by tying property tax reform to school funding, it just proves the Democrats weren't serious about property tax reform in the first place." Speaking of squabbles, looks like homeboy House Majority Leader Jim Merrill (R-Chas.) was done "speakifying" last week when he went nose-to-nose with Minority Leader Harry Ott (D-Calhoun) during the property tax debate on the House floor. The two, according to The State newspaper, had to be separated. After Congress approved a bill this week, it cleared the way for Gov. Mark Sanford to revamp the state's Medicaid progra, which is heavy on diverting citizens' coverage into private companies. —Bill Davis

NO MATTER WHAT THEY MAY SAY, JESUS ALL RIGHT WITH GOV SANFORD ·
When he appeared on WIS-TV's "Newswatch" program last week, Gov. Mark Sanford said he saw nothing wrong with teaching theories other than evolution in schools. "There are real chinks in the armor of evolution being the only way we came about," Sanford said on the show. The state biology standards will be finalized on Feb. 13 by South Carolina's Education Oversight Committee. The committee will decide if the state should adopt a set of four teaching "indicators" related to the teaching of evolution in high school. Some members argue that biology classes should include theories of intelligent design, as well as biblical Creationism. "It's not science," says College of Charleston math professor Herb Silverman, a noted atheist and activist. "We're far enough behind in science as it is. We shouldn't confuse students about what science is, and what religion is." —Anna-Claire Hodge

STATEWIDE POT PETITION LAUNCHED ·
An online petition drive called Compassionate Care was launched last week by the Charleston-based nonprofit South Carolinians for Drug Law Reform (SCDLR). The group hopes the petition will persuade state legislators to allow physicians to prescribe medical marijuana to sick patients. "What we want to do is get a bill introduced in this session of the state legislature," says Skip Johnson, president of SCDLR. According to AARP and Gallup polls, 70 percent of all South Carolinians and of all Americans support the use of medical marijuana. Eleven states have already adopted medical marijuana laws, with more on the verge. If passed, the legislation won't immediately affect patients across the state, but Compassionate Care hopes to make the state the first in the Southeast to pass medical marijuana laws. "It's a snowball that's rolling," says Johnson. "It adds South Carolina's voice to the rest of the nation's." To view the petition, go to www.scdruglawreform.org. —ACH ·
HAIKU OF THE WEEK
Did Bobby Ginn go
Quid pro quo with Riley or
Save Morris Island?

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