State Rep: 'I Was Asked to Leave' SC Legislature

State Rep. Eric J. Bikas said he was asked by the sergeant-at-arms to leave the Statehouse chamber at the Speaker Bobby Harrell's request in January

Republican State Representative Eric J. Bikas said that he hasn't been to Columbia in two months, after he was asked to leave in January.

Bikas, 25, who represents District 26 area of Greenville and Pickens County, said in January the sergeant-at-arms asked him to leave the Statehouse chamber at the request of House Speaker Bobby Harrell.

"In January I was asked to leave because when the redistricting occurred, I ended up without a district," Bikas said.

Bikas said that it was his understanding that the redistricting would not take place until November and said the move came as a surprise to him, when he was told he didn't have a district anymore.

"Whenever the Speaker said that, I thought it was kind of weird, but he's the speaker," Bikas said.

State House Spokesman Greg Foster said on Wednesday evening that Bikas was asked to leave due to a violation of the chamber's dress code. Foster also said Bikas still has a district to serve.

"When he came to the House Chamber he had on khakis, tennis shoes and golf shirt," Foster said. "A jacket and tie is required in the chamber. He is not the first person who has been asked to leave for improper dress."

When asked about the dress code violation, Bikas said that he felt if it was something as minor as that, Harrell would have called him up informally and talked to him about it.

According to House voting records, Bikas hasn't cast a vote since Jan. 18.

Bikas said he feels the ousting from the chamber followed him speaking out about a spending bill that he had been asked to try and win votes for as a whip. He said the bill concerned the naming of the road and while the naming itself did not cost anything, other aspects of the bill did. He said that when he read the bill, he had asked for clarification because he did not understand how it worked.

Bikas said he was told at that time that the summary of the bill was the property of the committee and that he should work to get votes. He said he didn't agree with it and did not get the votes needed to support the bill during the vote.

"I think that's when they started looking to get rid of my district," Bikas said.

Bikas said the next strike against him would be voicing his opinion on how the chair was chosen for the House Ways and Means committee.

Bikas said that it had been discussed in their whip meeting that they would find out each member to report their vote to the Speaker and then he would report the winner of that vote. Bikas said he told them that it sounded like they would pick the winner, but he said he's learned that's the way the committee races work.

Bikas said soon after he lost all of his committee assignments and was notified through a letter he received in November. He said the 2012 member committee assignments with a handwritten date at the top in the 11th month of 2011 did not show him as being assigned to the Higher Education subcommittee.

Foster said that committee assignments come from the Speaker and that members may serve on only one committee at a time. Foster said Bikas was assigned to the Education and Public Works House Committee and served on the K-12 education subcommittee and the motor vehicles and public works subcommittees. Foster said that to his knowledge there was no change of membership.

Foster said a letter would not have been sent to remove him from his committee. He also said that the only time committee members are reassigned is at the beginning of a new General Assembly.

Foster said that Harrell had reached out to Bikas after he had been absent for a few weeks to remind him that he had to call the clerk's office to request leave.

Foster said that members are asked to call the clerk to report their absence and if they choose, can also provide reason for their absence. He said reasons can be anything from attending the funeral of someone in their district or a conflict with work.

Bikas said that he did speak to Harrell and that Harrell told him that he had to call in to request permission not to attend session meetings.

Bikas said he called a couple of times to make the request, but "I answer to constituents, not the Speaker."

Foster said the Speaker has attempted to contact him at least twice since then and had been unable to reach him.

Bikas said he has sought legal counsel, but at this point just doesn't know where to turn.

"For the past six weeks, I've been trying to figure out if I am a legislator or not," Bikas said. "I've been writing down dates that things happened and put it into perspective."

Bikas, who is still being paid for his in-district work, said he feels badly for his constituents. He said they voted him in to fight for less government spending, which is what he was trying to do when he was asked to leave.

"I run small businesses," Bikas said. "I know what it's like to meet the bottom line. I look at it with a calculator and it doesn't make sense, I'm going to raise my hand on things."

Bikas said that he does plan to return to Columbia and said he will fight for secret ballot vote for the Speaker's race and in term limits for that office. He said he also would fight for greater transparency for whip and caucus meetings.

Bikas said he will not seek reelection.

Dee Marie March 29, 2012 at 12:36 PM
Robert I. Laitres March 29, 2012 at 01:16 PM
Merely an example of a "child" attempting to do an adult's job, one he/she doesn't know how to do. It must be nice to take months off (and at taxpayer expense) in order to do "what", heaven only knows. It is the same as the current Treasurer of the State of the State of Ohio now seeking a Senatorial seat who, while he has not been doing his job since election, wants a higher office. Yet, may of the so-called "Tea Partiers" who, while they complain about "government waste" will still vote for him because he is "my boy". Talk about being "out of touch with reality".
Todd Ringling March 29, 2012 at 01:22 PM
a 25 year old Tgressive too dim to find out what procedures are in his job; a guy running small businesses (probably into the ground by the sound of it). All I can say is, "this was the best candidate you could find in the district? Wow."
Michael Briggs March 29, 2012 at 03:31 PM
People are beginning to find out--even in South Carolina--that the Tea Party isn't quite ready for prime time.
Maximillion March 29, 2012 at 03:36 PM
Only in a government job can you get paid without showing up for two months!
La La March 29, 2012 at 04:14 PM
Roger McGoon March 29, 2012 at 04:31 PM
Is this clueless 'bagger still getting paid? Is he and his family still getting medical coverage on the taxpayer's dime?
Chuck Hill March 29, 2012 at 05:24 PM
Ah, South Carolina. You take such care in the selection of your leadership. When I saw that he served on the Education Committee, I just shook my head.
More March 29, 2012 at 05:26 PM
Somehow it doesn't suprise me that the good ol' boys in South Carolina are a bit confused about politics. The fact that South Carolina ranks at the bottom of the 50 states in poverty, public education, graduation rates and obesity may explain why that ol' boy was confused. Probably couldn't find his Sunday goin-to-church shoes and suit.
catdance March 29, 2012 at 05:34 PM
It's a shame he's still a "child" at the age of 25.
Carolyn Farr Smith March 29, 2012 at 06:32 PM
A reminder that all comments should follow our terms of use policy, which may be found at http://easley.patch.com/terms.
Themisskitty March 29, 2012 at 07:34 PM
This could've been in The Onion, it's so incredible how Bikas is stupider than dirt.
John Woody March 29, 2012 at 09:34 PM
The picture is clear and age has nothing to do with it. An arrogant Speaker of th House, Harrell and the get in line or get out mentality does. This has happened in other states when new people who promised to do what the people of their district want run afoul of the establishment by trying to shake up the good ole boys in power. Can't say as I blame Bikas for not wanting to run again but if he quits who will do what his district sent him to do? Fight Harrell and do it in the open with the help of the Media.
Zackery Richards March 30, 2012 at 03:30 AM
This is a good example as to why we need Term Limits on the House & Senate in Washington. The "career politicians" have been in office so long and acquired so much power & influence that no one can oppose them. They tell these fresh- men to "get on the gravy train" or sit back and keep your mouth shut. Until we get rid of the career politicians [and level the playing field], nothing in politics will ever change.
Al March 30, 2012 at 05:43 AM
Sounds like this guy is totally clueless as to how government works. Even in business, you must know how to go about things, who has the power, how to get to them, etc. And, if you do make a mistake, learn what you need to do to re-deem yourself (if it is even possible). Like it, or not, that is how things work. As they say, "don't go to the park if you don't know how to play with the other children". I can see why he is not seeking re-election. Does not sound like the job is for him.
Denise Lane Painter March 30, 2012 at 03:57 PM
This is a true shame. The district could have had an experienced businesswoman and fiscally conservative spender who spent years on Greenville County Council working for the area on BOTH sides of the line (property wise, as well as politically), who actually has lived in the district for decades and doesn't rent an empty house to say he does, who has a record of a balanced budget EVERY YEAR she represented that district on council, as well as a record of working across the aisle but instead the people elected a blank-faced mouth-breather with a criminal record simply because he had an R beside his name, who got mad because they were mean to him and went home to pout. He's not running his businesses, his daddy and his uncles are. His name is just on the paperwork. Like the song says, "you get the government you deserve".
jeff ford March 31, 2012 at 12:01 AM
Bikas has done more to expose the corruption in our government in his 16 months than Rex Rice did in his entire tenure in the house . Stop trying to score points at this young mans expense. Bikas has the leadership in the house squirming because he is doing what he was elected to do .and not marching to the beat of Harolds drum. PBS films all house activities I challenge them to produce Bikas in chamber wearing khakis and t-shirt . Legislators pay is public knowledge in all my research I have not found that Bikas has accepted any pay since being absent. Sounds like the good old boys are trying to shut him up. Harold did the same thing to our Governor when she challenged him. We elected a true leader in this young man if one can see past the propaganda created by the leadership and his media
jeff ford March 31, 2012 at 12:23 AM
I have to laugh at how stupid the democrats are, Regardless of weather you agree with Bikas’s handling of the events this young leader has tossed you the political football and instead of supporting him in his quest for an honest and open government you bash him . We all should all rally behind Bikas to create term limits with secret ballots for the speaker position. This will insure the end of the good old boy system in this state. I believe this young man to be the long awaited breath of fresh air desperately needed in the State House
Denise Lane Painter March 31, 2012 at 12:30 AM
Mr. Ford, I find your first comment very interesting, considering it's identical word-for-word with a comment made by Helen Hamlin under the story "I Was Asked To Leave" SC Legislature. Either you or Ms. Ford need to come up with your own words and stop copying off of each other. That being said, the media and the leadership did not make up the fact that Mr. Bikas was a convicted violent criminal that "somehow" got his lack of fulfilling the conditions of his parole swept under the rug in Pickens County very soon after he announced his candidacy. The media and the leadership did not make up Mr. Bikas falsely claiming to live in the district by temporarily renting an empty trailer located inside the district while still living at his parent's home, which is NOT in the district. The media and the leadership did not make up that Mr. Bikas has not been in session for over two months now, yet has collected his $10,000 salary and is receiving the benefit of state (meaning taxpayer) benefits such as full health insurance. The media and the leadership did not make up that Mr. Bikas has publicly stated that he will not give back the taxpayer's money. The media and the leadership did not make up that Mr. Bikas is too stupid to know that they can't take your district away from you like it was a lollypop. If this spoilt child is a "true leader" then we are up crap creek and the monkeys have the paddles.
jeff ford March 31, 2012 at 01:53 PM
Mrs Painter You should check your facts before speaking. Bikas was in secession all of last year .He does not receive State Insurance . Records showhe has not collected any pay since being absent this year , This is all public knowledge Are you one to convict after a court couldn't . Could he have rented a trailer while his house was under construction? Or could it have been used as an office just down the street form where his apartment was the time You seem like so many journalist today just spouting out falsehoods.without facts Grow up and do your research . It is clear you just don't like this fellow. Produce facts to show I'm wrong
JOHN GAINES April 04, 2012 at 04:42 AM
jeff dommer December 30, 2012 at 10:06 PM
lol Eric, I hope you google yourself and read this some day. I knew Bikas from school... This kid is a tool. He went to cooking school which makes me wonder how he justified himself as qualified to make decisions for the public. He doesn't own a business from my understanding he has "worked" (lol, if being a spoiled punk is considered working) for his parents and likes to pretend like he owns his familys restaurant... he doesn't actually work by any means. I know him well enough to know that he is sitting at home laughing about how he is getting paid to do nothing. I don't know how to not sound bitter, I say congratulations to his parents for being sucessful enough to provide such a great life for this punk... But they did a piss poor job raising a punk kid who cares very little about others, takes virtually nothing seriously when no one is looking, and spends his parents money frivolously. He is not a good person, and this is knowing him on a personal level... Best part is if you knew him as well as I do. You would know he would be having a laugh right now knowing that I am right while he secretly laughs at all the people he pisses on... He likes to seem like a good guy, but he gets his rocks off being an asshole.


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