Nov 16 2010
Recently, I’ve received several e-mails with questions about reforming how the Legislature operates. Here’s my answers:
1. South Carolina’s legislative session is the longest in the Southeast and the longest in the United States among part-time legislatures.
• Would you support shortening the legislative session to no more than 45 legislative days? yes
2. Because so much power is concentrated in the legislative branch, the leadership is therefore powerful through appointments to 250-plus executive branch boards and commissions. The Speaker of the House and the Senate President Pro Tempore, alone, make more than 120 appointments to executive branch functions.
• Do you believe there is an equal balance of power between the legislative, executive and judicial branches of SC state government? no
• If yes: Given that judges are appointed by the legislature, and many executive branch appointments are made by the legislature, how can you support that statement?
• If no: How would you propose changing the current system? Move more executive functions under the governor’s administration, have judges appointed by governor and confirmed by Senate, eliminate the Budget and Control Board
3. Given that we are one of only two states that determines committee chairman and committee assignments simply based on how long someone has been in the Senate;
• Would you support a rules change in the Senate to reform the seniority system? If it accompanied term limits. I support term limits on the full membership.
4. For the past two years the General Assembly has only recorded 25% of votes they took.
• Do you believe a statute requiring more recorded votes is unconstitutional? No, However, I support legislation (statute), constitutional amendment, rules change, or all of the above to increase roll call votes. Personally, I record all of my votes in the Senate Journal on 2nd or 3rd reading of all bills voluntarily if no role call vote is taken
• Would you support a Constitutional amendment requiring recorded votes? yes