Thumbs down to the possibility of two Martin Luther King Jr. Day walks in Florence. One is enough. We had one in each of the past 17 years that was led by Florence City Councilman Ed Robinson. He died in March, but his widow and others want to carry on the walk. Organizers say Pat Gibson-Hye Moore, who was elected to replace Robinson on the council, wants to start a separate walk. Moore isn’t say much now. “You will hear from us in due time,” she said Wednesday. We aren’t taking sides for now in this matter. We’ll wait until we hear from Moore before we cast judgment. We just want to express disappointment. Shame, shame, shame. Can’t we all just get along? Can’t they talk this over and work this out so we can have one walk that brings the whole community together? Come on. It’s called unity. Martin Luther King Jr. was its biggest advocate.
Thumbs up to the S.C. Senate, Part I. On Tuesday, senators re-elected Sen. Hugh K. Leatherman Sr., a Republican from Florence, as the chamber’s president pro tempore. We’re biased, of course, but we like having Pee Dee legislative power in Columbia. Leatherman serves the whole state well, so we don’t want to hear critics cry about parochialism. He finished a two-year term as president pro tempore in the spring, and we saw no reason to elect somebody else. Nine Republican senators voted against Leatherman. That included Senate Majority Leader Shane Massey of Edgefield. He argued that Leatherman has enough power as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. Why is it that nobody complains when power is consolidated in Charleston, Columbia or Greenville? When it’s concentrated in the Pee Dee, that’s a problem? The Pee Dee was neglected for a long time in Columbia. We should enjoy these good times while we can.
Thumbs up to the S.C. Senate, Part II. The senators changed some of their rules Tuesday. Big deal? Remember this day if more gets done in 2017 than 2015 or 2016. In the past two years, filibusters and other tactics stalled progress such as ethics reform and a much-needed gas-tax increase. As The State noted in a report earlier this week, the Senate has become a graveyard for major legislative proposals. The action on Tuesday eliminated “minority reports,” a mechanism that senators use to block bills even though they have won approval in committee. Senators moved up high-priority proposals – so-called “special order” bills – so they will be debated earlier in the legislative day. And they made it easier to end filibusters, where senators opposed to a proposal take the podium and try to talk to death bills. “What we’re trying to do is make the Senate more efficient,” said Senate Majority Leader Shane Massey, R-Edgefield. Critics say the Senate’s rules are used too often to block important proposals, The State reported. For instance, a senator who opposes a proposal that passes a Senate committee can place a minority report on it. That essentially kills the bill unless a two-thirds majority of senators agree to debate it. Eliminating the minority report will “make it more difficult for one or two senators to block things,” Massey said. “It should be significant progress in the efficiency of the body.” In exchange for eliminating minority reports, the Senate’s rules will be changed to increase the number of objections each senator has to five from three. Those objections allow a senator to block a proposal when it is to the Senate floor. We applaud this and other changes. The 2017 session will be three weeks shorter, so we need more efficiency in the Senate.
Thumbs up to the holidays. We’ll reach a pre-Christmas peak in the next few days. The Florence Christmas Parade will start at 11 a.m. today. It’s a week earlier than it has been in recent years, and as a result, it might be bigger and better. All three marching bands from Florence’s high schools will participate, as will the band from Darlington High School. For the first time, at the end of the parade a stage in downtown Florence will feature music and caroling. The Masterworks Choir will perform at 7:30 p.m. today and at 5 p.m. Sunday at Central United Methodist Church in downtown Florence. The Florence Festival of Lights is back at Hoffmeyer Place. It raises money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. The All-City Choir from Florence School District One will perform Monday night with the Florence Symphony Orchestra at the Francis Marion University Performing Arts Center. If you’re looking to get in the Christmas spirit, go to one or more of these events. You’ll be happy you did.
Thumbs up to Bazen’s Family Restaurant. That wish comes from Frances Elmore on behalf of the Make-A-Wish Volunteers of the Pee Dee. Elmore, the Make-A-Wish coordinator for the Pee Dee, wrote to thank the restaurant for playing host to the annual Make-A-Wish Christmas Party for 20-plus years, “giving us a place to welcome and provide food and festivities for over 200 people each year. The staff and owners always greet and serve the wish children and their families with warmth and enthusiasm. A GREAT BIG THANK YOU for making this event so SPECIAL for us all.”
Thumbs up, thumbs down is a regular feature of the Morning News and appears each Saturday on our Opinion page. We seek nominations for both good and bad deeds from our readers. Send nominations to us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure use the word “thumb” in the subject and include a contact number. Thumbs can also be mailed to us c/o The Morning News, 310 S. Dargan St., Florence, S.C., 29506.