Senate overrides veto; $40M in help heading to SC farmers

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WBTW) – South Carolina farmers will get $40 million in state aid to help them pay for crops ruined by last year’s massive flood.

The Senate voted 39-3 on Wednesday to override Gov. Nikki Haley’s veto of the farm aid bill. The House voted 112-2 a day before. The votes are a sharp rebuke of a rare second-term veto by Haley.

The bill allows farmers in disaster-declared counties to apply for grants of up to $100,000 each, covering no more than 20 percent of their total loss.

Senate President Pro Tempore Hugh Letherman of Florence released a statement saying, “I’m proud of the leadership shown by the Senate today in offering our farmers a lifeline that they desperately need. I was absolutely determined that the farmers devastated by this flood would be protected following this irresponsible veto. This isn’t about offering some kind of bailout. It is a fiscally responsible way to support our family farms. Nothing is more important than a stable food supply grown by our farmers right here in South Carolina. In the end, this is about doing what we think is right for the people of our state.”

Haley’s veto message called the bill a bailout. She said farmers have plenty of other federal aid options and shouldn’t get help not given to other small businesses.

Farmers say that isn’t true and the lack of help was causing some to go bankrupt.

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