Apr 29 2011
Apr 29 2011
COLUMBIA, S.C. – Gov. Nikki Haley today announced that the state of South Carolina has suspended the first business license under the South Carolina Illegal Immigration Reform Act after repeated and intentional violations.
Monterrey Mexican Restaurant of Killian, L.L.C., in Columbia, was notified today by the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (LLR) that it must suspend its operations for 10 consecutive days. Violation of the order will result in its business license being revoked for five years.
“At a time when President Obama has allowed ICE to abandon worksite enforcement and there are millions of illegal immigrants in the workforce, South Carolina is identifying the problem and addressing it,” Gov. Haley said.
Under the South Carolina Illegal Immigration Reform Act, all businesses in South Carolina have a business license to employ workers. That license can be suspended or revoked by the state if a business owner fails to verify the legal work status of employees within five business days after they are hired.
“In this economy, we need to ensure that every available job is held by an employee who is legally in this country and authorized to work,” LLR Director Catherine Templeton said. “Employers who choose to ignore the requirements of the state immigration law in their hiring practices will be penalized.”
Gov. Haley said, “What you’re seeing is an agency director and an administration that understand what it means to enforce the laws on the books.”
Following an investigation by LLR on October 25, 2010, the restaurant was notified that four of its five employees were not authorized to work in the United States, and that state law required the termination of any illegal immigrants.
The department conducted a follow-up inspection on November 5, 2010 and found Monterrey had hired five new employees without verifying their employment eligibility.
In an agreement with LLR signed by restaurant ownership on January 6, 2011, the business’ imputed license was suspended for 10 days but immediately stayed provided Monterrey terminate all unauthorized workers, pay a fine of $1,000, and conduct a self-audit to verify employment eligibility for all employees.
LLR conducted an unannounced audit of the restaurant on March 24, 2011 and found that the business had hired four new employees without properly verifying their work eligibility.
Since the law went into effect on July 1, 2009, LLR has audited 5,800 businesses and issued citations to 500 employers for violations related to employment verification. Information on employers cited can be found online.
Press Secretary | Office of Governor Nikki Haley
O: 803.734.5074 | C: 803.429.5086
Apr 28 2011
The State: Senate plan touts generic drug use, Health care dominates budget debate By JOHN O’CONNOR (email@example.com) Patients in a state-run health care program for the poor and disabled could have to choose lower-cost mental health, cancer and HIV/AIDS prescriptions, according to a change in the Senate’s proposed state budget adopted Wednesday.
But the Senate voted down a proposal to make state employees pay a greater share of their rising health-insurance premiums. Employees will pay about $6 more a month next year for that insurance. The rejected plan almost would have doubled that increase.
Health care costs dominated the second day of floor debate on the Senate’s $5.8 billion spending plan for the state’s fiscal year that starts July 1.
Medicaid patients who already use name-brand drugs would not have to switch from those medications. However, doctors would need to try the lowest-cost drugs – typically generics – for new patients as long as those low-cost drugs are as effective as more expensive drugs.
The change will save the state about $991,000 a year, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. Some lawmakers said the state should mandate everyone use the least expensive drug in order to save more money.
The bill would require the least expensive option, which could mean a generic or a name-brand drug whose maker offers a rebate or discount.
State Sen. Kevin Bryant, R-Anderson, one of three pharmacists in the General Assembly, said he supported requiring Medicaid recipients to use the least expensive drug. Bryant brought a name-brand indigestion drug and the generic equivalent to the Senate well. The generic, he noted, actually was stamped with the more expensive drug’s name.
But advocates said that no generics exist for some mental health, cancer and HIV/AIDS drugs. Other times, they said, when generics exist, they are not as effective.
Department of Health and Human Services spokesman Jeff Stensland said the agency does not support requiring prescription changes if they might impact a patient’s health. “We wouldn’t want to do anything that would disrupt what they are on now.”
But state Sen. David Thomas, R-Greenville, disagreed.
Drug companies have been pushing more expensive drugs, he said, often urging their use to treat illnesses for which the drugs were not designed. Some of those drug companies also have defrauded the state and hurt its citizens, he said.
“We’ve got to apply a tourniquet to the bleeding of this state,” Thomas said, urging lawmakers to require the use of generic drugs, a proposal they rejected.
Lawmakers also rejected a proposal to require state employees to pay more of their health insurance costs.
State Sen. Greg Ryberg, R-Aiken, said state employees should pay half the higher cost to the state for health insurance in the next fiscal year, or about $11 a month more. But senators — mindful that some state employees have not received a pay raise in four years — rejected Ryberg’s proposal, 24-16.
The Senate will continue its debate of the budget proposal today.
Reach O’Connor at (803) 771-8358.
© 2011 TheState.com and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved. http://www.thestate.com
Apr 28 2011
S.C. Senate fails by one vote
to defund rape, incest abortions
COLUMBIA, S.C. (Wednesday, April 27, 2011) –A move to strip funding for rape and incest abortions from the state employees’ health insurance plan failed by one vote Wednesday in the Republican-controlled South Carolina Senate. Senators Kevin Bryant, R-Anderson, and David Thomas, R-Greenville, offered the amendment during debate on the 2011-2012 state budget.
In what is known as Part 1B, Section 80C of the state budget, the state employees’ health insurance coverage reads in part: “No funds appropriated for employer contributions to the State Health Insurance Plan may be expended to reimburse the expenses of an abortion, except in cases of rape, incest or where the mother’s medical condition is one which, on the basis of the physician’s good faith judgment, so complicates the pregnancy as to necessitate an immediate abortion to avert the risk of her death or for which a delay will create serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of major bodily function, and the State Health Plan may not offer coverage for abortion services, including ancillary services provided contemporaneously with abortion services.”
The Bryant-Thomas amendment would have removed the six words “in cases of rape; incest or” leaving the rest of the House-passed language intact.
Some courts have ruled that “impairment of a major bodily function” includes the brain and therefore abortions may be performed for the mental health of the mother. It is unclear if the language of Section 80C excludes mental health abortions.
Numerous court decisions have held that federal, state, and local entities can prohibit government funding of abortion.
Senator Joel Lourie, D-Richland, moved to table (defeat) the Bryant-Thomas amendment. The motion to table passed by one vote. Those who voted against tabling the amendment were voting in favor of the Bryant-Thomas amendment.
Voting for the amendment (against a tabling motion): Alexander, Bright, Bryant, Campbell, Campsen, Cromer, Davis, Fair, Grooms, Hayes, Jackson, Martin (Shane), Massey, O’Dell, Reese, Rose, Ryberg, Shoopman, Thomas, Verdin
Voting against the amendment (for a tabling motion): Coleman, Courson, Elliott, Ford, Gregory, Hutto, Knotts, Land, Leatherman, Leventis, Lourie, Malloy, Martin (Larry), Matthews, McConnell, McGill, Nicholson, Peeler, Rankin, Scott, Williams
Not Voting: Cleary, Anderson, Pinckney, Sheheen, Setzler
Saving babies’ lives in South Carolina’s most notorious former abortion facility.
Street address: 1411 Barnwell St. Suite 3, Columbia SC 29201
Mailing address: P.O. Box 5865, Columbia SC 29250
Phone: 803.252.LIFE (5433) Fax: 803.252.3118
e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org web: www.sclife.org
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Apr 27 2011
After a six year mission to see the adoption of much needed Medicaid savings measures, the Senate finally supported our efforts to remove the “carve outs” restricting the utilization of prior authorizations for prescriptions.
Earlier this year, Governor Haley made in her state-of-the-state address. Here’s what she said:
The majority of prescription drugs issued by Medicaid are generic, with three large exceptions: AIDS, cancer, and mental health. We propose, following the lead of Senator Kevin Bryant, a pharmacist himself, that we remove the proviso prohibiting the use of generic medications to treat those three afflictions. I realize that this may sting pharmaceutical companies, and some lobbyists, but it is an option that will allow us to realize real savings without compromising the quality of care for our patients.
I met with Gov. Haley recently, and stressed the potential savings if we make this change. As a pharmacist, I witness wasted taxpayer money on prescription drugs on a daily basis.Currently, Medicaid has a process called prior authorization or PA. This process is applied to some medications. In these situations, generic alternatives must be used first, and in the instance that the generic drug does not work; the more expensive medication may be dispensed. In no way is quality of care in jeopardy. If a consumer is paying cash for a product, naturally, they will try the least expensive option first. When the taxpayer is required to pay for medications covered by Medicaid, I believe we should take the same approach.
Prior Authorization is applied to many life threatening therapeutic classes with little or no problems, yet with exponential savings of the taxpayers’ money. We apply the PA’s to medications treating diabetes, blood pressure, esophageal reflux, and many, many more.
I am confident that there is much room for savings in the mental health, aids, and chemotherapy areas. Currently, the legislature has banned the Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee from even considering utilizing the PA in these three categories.
For example, in 2010 Medicaid spent $23.7 million on 3 drugs (Zyprexa, Seroquel, & Abilify). Applying a prior authorization mechanism on these drugs would only mean that less expensive alternatives be tried first. Even though many patients may still qualify for these meds, the PA possibility will still save money as drug manufacturers are more cooperative with negotiations on rebates when the prior authorization is a possibility.
Adding prior authorizations to Aids and Chemotherapy drugs may not save much, but there is still merit in expanding the PA to these categories. As you know, the hiv virus in a constantly changing organism and cancerous conditions are ever-changing, so therapies are constantly changing. But remember, the PA possibility does increase the rebate negotiating factor.
Apr 25 2011
South Carolina Government: Now is the Time for Historic Reforms
Restructuring our state government will result in a more efficient, more effective, and more accountable government. A government that is more efficient will free up additional resources to more adequately serve those who need government help. A government that is more effective will better serve those who need government’s services. And a government that is more accountable will allow voters – and The Legislature – to hold future governors responsible for our state’s results.
One of the many benefits of greater accountability would be an increased diversity in government leadership. For example, over the past ten years:
African-Americans have led 26% of agencies when the governor makes the appointment, yet 0% of agencies under Constitutional Officers (for the past 130 years!)
Women have led 30% of agencies when the governor makes the appointments, yet only 6% of the agencies under Constitutional Officers
African-Americans currently hold 23% of the top deputy positions under gubernatorial appointees, yet 0% of the top deputy positions under Constitutional Officers
Many leaders – have publicly called for a much needed restructuring of government.
• “The reason to do it, I believe, it makes for a much more effective government.” former Governor Jim Hodges1
• “The 1895 constitution was ‘done poorly and for the wrong reasons,’ said former Governor Dick Riley…He agreed with a previous comment by (former) Gov. Mark Sanford that the constitution was meant to keep liquor out and black men down.”1
• Representative Chris Hart “dismisses the fears of diminished legislative power, noting that the Legislature and governor can – and should – both be strong…‘In civics class, you learn about the three branches of government…We don’t have that here.’”2
• “He demonstrated his ability to do with DPS what we could not have done in the Legislature…That just illustrated what the potential impact of a governor who can be held accountable would be…That’s a benefit that I think some of us may have missed.” Representative Joe Neal2
• “(Senator John) Scott boasts that he voted this spring to create a new Department of Administration that the governor would control, to let the governor hire and fire the director of a merged Department of Mental Health and Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services, and to ask voters to let the governor name the education superintendent, secretary of state and lieutenant governor.” 2
• Senator Darrell Jackson “now says he’s back to supporting the idea (restructuring), specifically mentioning (former) Gov. Mark Sanford’s argument that letting the governor appoint constitutional officers is ‘the only way we’ll get an African-American in a high position.’”2
• “If you have accountability to where the people can have some input to it, they can get the services they deserve…In those areas that you don’t have oversight by the governor, those people are not accountable.” Representative Joe McEachern2
• “It is a constitution born in sin.” Senator Tom Davis1
• Governor Ben Tillman’s goal was “the elimination of black Carolinians from the political process….black disenfranchisement was the primary goal of the new constitution.” Walter Edgar, The History of South Carolina
1. State senator says S.C. Constitution ‘born in Sin’” Charleston Regional Business Journal 1/19/09
2. “Are black legislators becoming the best advocates of restructuring,” Cindi Ross Scoppe, The State 5/20/08
If passed by The General Assembly this session, the referendum to change the Constitution could be put before voters in 2012 and therefore will not take effect until January of 2015.
This session is the time to act since we don’t know what governor will be in office when the change is made. It is also unlikely to impact any of our current statewide constitutional officers. And, perhaps most importantly,
Isn’t 120 years long enough to spend under the shadow of Ben Tillman’s pitchfork?
Apr 24 2011
“I believe Jesus was a great moral teacher, but I can’t accept His claim to be God.” Have you ever heard a statement like that…or perhaps said something similar yourself?
C.S. Lewis probes the greatest decision of life:
A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic – on the level of a man who says he is a poached egg – or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: Or else He is a madman…or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool; you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us.
Liar: Jesus knew he wasn’t God, but said so
Lord: Jesus Christ is everything he says he is
Lunatic: Jesus thought he was God, and pretended to be so
Who is the living Son of God to you?