State legislators met over the past two days to consider overrides of Gov. Nikki Haley’s vetoes to the state budget. Two of these vetoes impacted funding for the South Carolina Arts Commission.
Veto #1 completely eliminated funding for the South Carolina Arts Commission, resulting in the agency closing its doors on June 9.
Veto #21 eliminated $500,000 in additional funding for the arts commission to distribute in grants.
To override a Governor’s veto, the item is first considered by the State House of Representatives and if two-thirds of the House vote to override the veto, it will then move on to the Senate where a two-thirds vote is also required.
Yesterday, the House voted to override both of the vetoes with votes of 110–5 to restore funding and 89–25 in favor of the $500,000 for arts grants.
Today the Senate has done the same, voting 29–10 to restore funding for the arts commission and 29–12 to override veto #21.
It’s great to see South Carolina policymakers recognize the value of the arts commission and it was amazing to see how arts advocates in the state stepped up and make noise when Gov. Haley’s vetoes were announced.
If you’ve been reading about the arts online over the past week and a half, there is a good chance you were reading about what was going on in South Carolina. On Twitter, #SaveSCArts has been mentioned hundreds of times and a Change.org petition received more than 7,600 signatures of support.
On Monday, one week after the arts commission closed their doors, advocates held a rally in the state capitol of Columbia where arts supporters gathered to play music, dance, and paint. We know their efforts did not go unnoticed by policymakers.
Not only did Columbia Mayor Steven Benjamin speak up in support for the arts commission, recognizing the economic impact that the group has on the state, but policymakers acknowledged advocates on the floor during consideration.
Several legislators mentioned hearing from arts advocates with a specific mention of Americans for the Arts State Arts Action Network member, the South Carolina Arts Alliance. If you visit the South Carolina Arts Alliance Facebook page, you’ll see numerous comments from advocates saying they received a positive response when contacting their legislators.
Well done and a big congratulations to all of the advocates and artists in South Carolina!