The Palmetto Insider

The blog of the South Carolina Policy Council

Is Legislative Transparency in S.C. a Fad?

with one comment

Senator Tom Davis on April 22 attempted to recall H. 3047, the Spending Accountability Act—which has been in the Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill would require the House and Senate to consider the annual budget section-by-section and take a recorded vote on the adoption of each section. But opponents have raised constitutional questions on whether Senate rules can be superseded by a statute.

“We already got roll call voting,” says Senate President Pro Tempore Glenn McConnell in a new Nerve Gas video. “We already got mandatory roll call voting, we already got transparency.”

The Policy Council released research in 2008 showing that the S.C. General Assembly passed bills with a recorded vote only 5 percent of the time.  Last year, the SC Policy Council tracked all votes in the legislature and noted that only 25 percent of the votes were recorded. South Carolina had the weakest roll call voting requirements in the nation until 2009, when the legislature passed rules to record more of their votes.  However, most votes are still taken off the record.

The 104 House members who voted unanimously in favor of the measure recognized that transparency and accountability are still lacking in South Carolina.

“This is one of those few issues where to protect this institution and to protect the constitution some of us are going to stand here as long as this Senate will let us and defend this constitution against a fad,” said McConnell, “a political fad.”

On Wednesday, May 5, a Senate Judiciary subcommittee will take up the roll call voting debate, and Policy Council President Ashley Landess will testify on how vital on-the-record voting is to government transparency.

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Written by Robert Appel

May 4, 2010 at 9:57 am

One Response

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  1. To whom it may concern:
    “a political fad”?? Are you kidding me? If this is “against the constitution of SC” then something is very wrong about our constitution. The people of SC deserve to know, have a right to know how their representatives and senators are voting. I heard Fri May 14th on Bob McLain’s show that the senate was trying to change the rules so they could vote in public one way and then change their vote behind close doors. What is going on in Columbia? What happen to honesty and integrity? Do these values get left at the church door on the way out?

    Sandra Zwolak

    May 16, 2010 at 10:15 am


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