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South Carolina House conservatives form own Freedom Caucus

South Carolina Freedom Caucus
Jeffrey Collins/AP
U.S. Rep. Ralph Norman, R-S.C., speaks at an announcement of the creation of a new South Carolina Freedom Caucus based on a similar national group at a news conference on Wednesday, April 20, 2022 in Columbia, S.C. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Collins)

More than a dozen South Carolina Republican House members are creating a Freedom Caucus, a state organization modeled on the group of conservatives in the U.S. Congress.

The South Carolina version promises to attack what it says is excessive state spending and push for socially conservative proposals.

And they promise to not only take on Democrats, but Republicans that they think don't go far enough to support those ideals since they took control of the South Carolina House nearly three decades ago, said Rep. Adam Morgan, the leader of the new group.

"It's been a crawl toward some kind of conservative Republican future. And it's time for us to stand up and fundamentally change things," the Republican from Taylors said.

Freedom Caucus groups are being founded in a number of states. "There's a swamp in every state, and our job is to take on the establishment in both parties," said Andy Roth, president of the State Freedom Caucus Network.

The South Carolina Freedom Caucus wants to see bills passed allowing people to openly carry guns without a permit, eliminate the state income tax and expand school choice among other proposals, members said.

The initial members of the state caucus don't include anyone in House leadership or in charge of House committees. But Morgan said that doesn't prevent them from influencing the direction of the General Assembly as a cohesive, voting group and an influence to pull more people into the caucus.

"You don't have to be the chair of a committee in order to get legislation passed," Morgan said. "That's something that a lot of people around here seem to struggle to understand. Every member can have say an influence, especially when you get to the to the floor."