House speaker: SC to likely get sued, lose

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- House Speaker Bobby Harrell says he expects South Carolina to be sued over a panel's decision to disregard the state budget and increase employees' health insurance costs anyway. And he expects the state to lose.

Harrell said Thursday the Budget and Control Board likely lacked the authority to split the cost of premium hikes between workers and employers. The Legislature passed a budget that fully funded the increases.

The Charleston Republican called it frustrating, saying an expected class-action lawsuit will just cost the state more money.

Gov. Nikki Haley convinced a majority of the five-member board Wednesday to buck the budget and split the increase.

Legislators and long-time staff can't remember the board ever ignoring the budget when approving the contribution rates, a vote viewed as procedural.