As the year in the Senate comes to a close, I must admit that this was the most worthless session in my 5 years of service. Most of the debate this year was about the Governor and the $700 million stimulus money. Unfortunately, many very important pieces of legislation were left on the vine. H. 3418 (voter id), H. 3272 (point-of-sale), H. 3245 (abortion 24-hour waiting period), and H. 3222 (free union election) would be the most important imo. Remember we are in the middle of a 2 year session, so these bills do have a chance next year.
In Columbia, the blame game is always in play, but this year I’m amazed how much blame is being cast to a first year freshman, Sen. Lee Bright. Bright is the sponsor of S. 424, also known as the Sovereignty Resolution or the 10th Amendment Resolution.
Many are suggesting that the lack of work done this year are all his fault because of his bill. Ya’ll know the power structure in the Senate is all about seniority. Ya’ll know a freshman couldn’t hold up the Senate if he tried. Here’s an article in the Spartanburg Herald, fitsnews here and here, and the wolfreport here and here. C’mon we know the deal. Issues that fall down conservative-liberal lines end up roughly @ 34-12. Democrats were successful in using S. 424 as a shield to the above bills, yet those in power are insistent on blaming a backbencher.
Here’s a few facts about S. 424.
Senator Bright filed S. 424, on February 12th with 25 co-sponsors: S. Martin, Alexander, Campbell, Fair, Knotts, Cromer, Mulvaney, Verdin, L. Martin, Shoopman, Rose, McConnell, Thomas, Cleary, Courson, Coleman, Davis, Reese, Campsen, Grooms, Ryberg, Peeler, O’Dell, Bryant and Massey
S. 424 received a favorable report from the Judiciary Committee on March 11th with a minority report. A minority report is a major blow to a bill unless the Senate places the bill on “special order”. The Senate gave S. 424 special order status on April 14th. We have 3 special order slots. Two of the slots require 31 votes of the full Senate and one slot requires approval of the Rules Committee (chairman Larry Martin, R-Pickens).
I can’t remember getting to S. 424 on the floor except for a few days. And I can’t remember the debate of S. 424 ever going much over an hour. On May 19th Sen. Brad Hutto was speaking on the bill at length and a cloture motion (ends a filibuster and forces a vote) was made, yet the motion failed.
How is it Bright’s fault when he voted in favor of this cloture vote? Here’s the roll call vote on the cloture: ayes: Alexander, Bright, Bryant, Campbell, Campsen, Cleary, Courson, Cromer, Davis, Fair, Grooms, Hayes, Martin, L., Martin, S., Massey, Mulvaney, Peeler, Rose, Ryberg, Shoopman, Thomas, Verdin nays: Anderson, Coleman, Elliott, Ford, Hutto, Jackson, Knotts, Land, Leventis, Lourie, Malloy, Matthews, McConnell, McGill, Nicholson, O’Dell, Pinckney, Reese, Scott, Setzler, Sheheen, Williams
How is it Bright’s fault when the Rules Committee special order slot was never used all year for any other bill?
How is it Bright’s fault when H. 3301 (pay day lending) was on special order for the same time? Many hours was spend on debating H. 3301, which by the way, is another big brother bill to protect you. (hope it gets a veto)
How is it Bright’s fault when he is responsible for forcing a vote on H. 3245 (abortion 24-hour waiting period)? Remember decorum won over this one.
Funny how the only time power is distributed in Columbia is when scapegoats are being sought. If I’m missing something, let me know.