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S.C. Trial Lawyer Legislators Coming Under Fire March 20, 2007

Posted by fitsnews in SC Politics.

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FITSNews – March 20, 2007 – Five S.C. Trial Lawyer Senators who recused themselves last week from voting on a Workers’ Compensation Commission appointment due to conflicts of interest are now facing mounting pressure to similarly recuse themselves from voting on a workers’ compensation reform bill, sources tell FITSNews.

Senators John Hawkins, Brad Hutto, Gerald Malloy, Luke Rankin and Vincent Sheheen are all under fire for admitting a conflict of interest on the one hand yet working to sink meaningful workers’ compensation reform in the Senate on the other.

“It may be (seeking) an ethics ruling, it may be asking the Attorney General for an advisory opinion,” a political advisor to S.C. Gov. Mark Sanford tells FITSNews. “Either way, if they want to have their cake and eat it, they better expect a large serving of crow to go along with it.”

Sanford’s advisor would not specify when – or even if – such a request might be formally submitted to either the State Ethics Commission or the S.C. Attorney General’s office, but it seems the Governor’s Office would have plenty of company in the event it were to seek such a remedy.

FITSNews has learned that a veritable phalanx of advocacy groups – including the S.C. Chamber of Commerce, the S.C. chapter of NFIB, the S.C. Club for Growth, S.C. Common Cause, S.C. No Home Tax and the S.C. Civil Justice Coalition – have either had discussions or been approached about filing formal complaints related to the ability of these five Senators’ to vote on the workers’ compensation bill.

“Somebody is going to end up pulling the trigger,” a source familiar with the discussions told FITSNews. “We’re talking when – not if – at this point.”

The Senate bill does not include any of the major reforms recommended by the business community, reforms specifically designed to help lower South Carolina’s skyrocketing insurance premiums.

From 2001 to 2005, workers’ compensation premiums in South Carolina increased by 70%. On top of that, another 18.4% spike was approved in December 2006.

“The rate increases are hurting job creation and hindering the recruitment of new businesses,” NFIB State Director J.W. Ragley said at a State House press conference earlier this year.

Stay tuned to FITSNews for additional updates on this developing story …



1. Silence Dogood - March 20, 2007

In you previous post on this “Broke Back Mountin'” made some good points as to why these legislators should not have to recuse themselves from a vote on Workers Comp. If so, should small business owners who are legislators do the same (I would hope nobody thinks that should happen either). I also think it would be an attrocious encroachment on the powers of the legislature if Sun-bed Sanford gets to, through an administrative arm, decide which legislators could vote on what legislation. This would be a fantastically horrible precedent to set.

2. Silence Dogood - March 20, 2007

Oh, yeah, why isn’t John Land’s named mentioned in all of this – he does an ‘incy’ bit of workers comp litigation? Is it just because he didn’t attempt to be even handed by taking his name out of the voting on commissioners? I guess that’s what these five deserve for having tried to do the right thing.

3. bigbear - March 20, 2007

John Land should be number one on the list to be investigated for ethics violations. That guy runs a pretty corrupt shop down in Clarendon county

4. sally - March 21, 2007

How many chances does Hawkins get to screw- up and still get elected to serve the people of SC. With guys like him in office we will never get meaningful anything passed in Cola —

5. compie - March 21, 2007

Land and his sons made more money practicing workers’ comp on the plaintiff’s side than the other guys put together — pull the State Newspaper article from last spring — wasn’t it close to $2 million dollars in one year???

6. Silence Dogood - March 22, 2007

compie, I think the figure was actually just over $800,000, but even that was a little misleading because that was not what he as an individual lawyer made, but his firm.

7. Inspector General - March 23, 2007

The Ethic’s Commission is a joke. The Ethic’s comission was created to put a face lift on government afcter “Operation Lost Trust” which was a political prosecution. The Legislative Audit Council is another joke as it is a tool of the General Assemby.

The only way to get rid of such crap is to jhave an elected Inspector General like we once did. Until that happens, SC will have corruption. But considering this is a state that elected a racist with an illegitimate bi-racial child repeatedly nothing surprises me except intelligence shown by the voters. The toliet of the nation still goes unflushed.

8. compie - May 17, 2007

Silence DoGood — i think my figures are accurate for his firm — which by the way consists of Sen Land, his 2 sons and his daughter. Not much to mislead there.

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