By votes of 111-1, 107-0 and 108-1, the House just voted to override Governor Nikki Haley's veto of funding for South Carolina Educational Television (SCETV). In each case, the only member voting to sustain the veto was Rep. Ralph Norman.
House Speaker Bobby Harrell called upon Rep. Kenny Bingham to speak to the issue. Bingham defended funding for ETV, saying it provides "services that are core missions of the state of South Carolina, such as our emergency broadcast network." He cited several examples of services provided by ETV, including Amber Alerts, the filming of House and Senate sessions, contracts for broadband services, public radio, and classroom portals in every public school in the state.
"Last time I checked, public education is a public function, and it is being provided for by ETV," Bingham declared.
Bingham described, angrily, the case of a constituent who provides studio services and who now is losing contracts to ETV because of Haley's insistence to make ETV a "private business model," forcing it to rent space, equipment and services in the private sector. He said he talked to Haley and her staff about the problem, yet Haley vetoed the agreement that was reached.
"Character, integrity and honor are more than just words to me, they are the core of what we are," he said. "I am sick and tired of people politicizing this body for their own personal benefits. The governor of SOuth Carolina was involved in every step of the way like she asked to be. We owed that to her," he said. "But I'll tell you what I'm not going to stand for: There's no educational value in the second kick of a mule."
"I may not ever be elected again and I do not care, if this is how it's going to operate," Bingham added. He spoke of "80 people" who work for ETV, "80 people who have families, who have done absolutely nothing wrong. I am not willing to throw those 80 people under the bus to make a political point."