S. 940 (the $1.7 billion tax hike) is the legislation that allows for counties to offer a local option sales tax. This means that the ballots of 14 counties will have this option on the ballot in November’s General Election. Our effort to kill S. 940 was almost successful. To end a filibuster on a conference report the Senate must adopt a “cloture” motion. This is majority of the body or “hard” 23. This means that an absent member is just as valuable as a “nay” vote. Normally, this number is 24. Sen. Yancey McGill (D-Williamsburg) is now Lt. Governor. This vacancy lowers it to 23. Cloture was invoked at 3:26pm. By statute, we could not go past 5:00 pm last Thursday.
Here’s how the counts were on each motion: 1st 10-31; 2nd 19-20; 3rd 22-16; 4th 19-18; 5th 21-15; 6th 23-15
Members vote “aye” or “nay” for different reasons. The vote can be based on a personal like or dislike for the member holding the floor. Some think filibusters are a waste of time and we should vote on every bill. I have a few colleagues that never vote cloture no matter who has the floor or what the subject is. Sometimes I’ve seen a filibuster on a bill because of a different bill that will be taken up next.
The rules of the “deliberative” body are to protect the minority. Depending on the issue, the minority in the South Carolina Senate is either conservatives or Democrats. These two groups often find common ground on procedural issues.
Many people think it would be based on the subject matter of the bill itself, however, S. 940 passed 35-5. We lost this one, but when it comes to taxes, we’ll go down kicking and screaming.
Never voted “aye”:
Karl Allen (D-Greenville)
Lee Bright (R-Spartanburg)
Kevin Bryant (R-Anderson)
Tom Davis (R-Beaufort)
Brad Hutto (D-Orangeburg)
Gerald Malloy (D-Darlington)
Martin (Shane) (R-Spartanburg)
John Matthews (D-Orangeburg)
Clementa Pinckney (D-Jasper)
Luke Rankin (R-Horry)
John Scott (D-Richland)
Vincent Sheheen (D-Kershaw)
Danny Verdin (R-Laurens)
Kent Williams (D-Marion)
Voted “aye” once: Shane Massey (R-Aiken), Thomas McElveen (D-Sumter), Nikki Setlzer (D-Lexington)
Voted “aye” twice: Creighton Coleman (D-Fairfield), Tom Corbin (R-Greenville), Hugh Leatherman (R-Florence), Joel Lourie (D-Richland), Floyd Nicholson (D-Greenwood)
Voted “aye” 3 times: Ray Cleary (R-Georgetown)
Voted “aye” 4 times: Greg Gregory (R-Lancaster)
Voted “aye” 5 times: Thomas Alexander (R-Oconee), John Courson (R-Richland), Larry Grooms (R-Berckeley), Marlon Kimpson (D-Charleston), Harvey Peeler (R-Cherokee), Katrina Shealy (R-Lexington), Paul Thurmond (R-Charleston), Ross Turner (R-Greenville)
Voted “aye” 6 times: Sean Bennett (R-Dorchester), Chip Campsen (R-Charleston), Ronnie Cromer (R-Newberry), Mike Fair (R-Greenville), Wes Hayes (R-York), Greg Hembree (R-Horry), Martin (Larry) (R-Pickens), O’Dell (R-Abbeville), Young (R-Aiken)