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Sanford loses stimulus showdown with SC Legislature

The South Carolina Supreme Court has ordered Governor Mark Sanford to adhere to the state Legislature's wishes and request $700 million in federal stimulus money. The court's decision will likely end the showdown between the Republican Governor and the legislature over the stimulus money. Speaking at a press conference carried by WIS News, Sanford said the verdict is a setback to the notion of separation of power in the state. "What this decision really underscores is that in South Carolina in many ways we don't have three branches of government. We have one," said Sanford. "And power and authority is too often rooted in the General Assembly in South Carolina." Sanford had said he didn't want the $700 million if the state couldn't use it to pay off debt. But the legislature dominated by the governor's own party wrote it into the budget anyway. The court ruled that it wasn't Sanford's call. Most of the money is bound for South Carolina's schools. Jim Rex, the state's Superintendent of Education says he's relieved by the verdict. "Well, it means we'll be able to save some teaching jobs. We estimate about 500," explains Rex. "It means we'll be able to re-instate some programs that were going to have to be cut: summer school programs, after school programs, adult education programs." About $5 million of the stimulus money will go to Rock Hill Schools, a district that serves 18,000 students. Rock Hill Schools superintendent Lynn Moody says it saves the district from expanding class sizes. "Had we not got the stimulus money it would've meant some drastic cuts for teachers because that's about the only place we have to go," says Moody. Sanford says he'll sign the request for stimulus money next week.