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Saturday
May252013

State: Sen. Kevin Bryant Leads Right's "William Wallace Caucus"

Members of the William Wallace Caucus want to nullify federal laws, give tax deductions to parents who send their children to private schools, end abortion and let South Carolinians — except criminals — carry handguns in public without a permit. The caucus is growing in influence.

To join the William Wallace Caucus, you first must earn your sword.

You have to take the floor of the state Senate and argue passionately for an ultra-conservative cause you believe in, only to be — in the caucus’ language of war — “disemboweled” by the Senate’s leadership.

If that happens, state Sen. Kevin Bryant, R-Anderson, will give you a sword — a lapel pin, not a real one — that signifies your induction into the William Wallace Caucus, a small faction of far-right legislators determined to shake up the state Senate.

Caucus members want to nullify federal laws, give tax deductions to parents who send their children to private schools, end abortion and let South Carolinians — except criminals — carry handguns in public without a permit.

The influence of the caucus, which has nine members in the 46-member Senate, is growing — threatening the Senate’s ruling coalition, made up of moderate Republicans and Democrats. The reaction of the Senate’s Republican leaders to the caucus ranges from disdain to dismissal. But they and Democrats are watching the caucus closely.

John Courson, R-Richland, Senate president pro tempore, calls the caucus “obstructionist.”

“I just don’t see much influence,” said Senate Finance Committee chairman Hugh Leatherman, R-Florence, one the Senate’s most senior lions and powerful members.

But state Sen. Gerald Malloy, D-Darlington, says the caucus is “a force to be reckoned with.”

That reckoning could change the Senate’s ruling coalition, which gives S.C. Democrats — who have no elected statewide officials and make up a powerless minority in the S.C. House — their only position of influence in the state government. “There are signs that (coalition) could be changing a little bit,” said state Sen. Joel Lourie, D-Richland.

 

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    The Anderson Observer - News - State: Sen. Kevin Bryant Leads Right's "William Wallace Caucus"
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    The Anderson Observer - News - State: Sen. Kevin Bryant Leads Right's "William Wallace Caucus"
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    The Anderson Observer - News - State: Sen. Kevin Bryant Leads Right's "William Wallace Caucus"

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