History was made this week with the ruling byf the SC Supreme Court when the Justices ordered the political parties to remove candidates from the June 12th primary ballot for failure to file their candidacy without all the correct paper forms. A 1992 law requires candidates to file a statement of economic interest at the same time they officially file their election paperwork. In recent years most filings have been online not on paper. A lawsuit was brought by two citizens challenging the filing process and the Supreme Court chose to follow the letter of the law in their ruling.
Friday afternoon, the state political parties officially certified candidates who met the requirement, but knocked off the ballot about 180 candidates statewide. A number of candidates in Spartanburg County were not certified due to the fact they did not meet the letter of the law.
Legislation has been introduced in the last couple of days that would reopen filing for one day. Barring unforeseen court challenges and rulings, any candidate not certified will be off the June ballot but can run as a petition candidate in the November general election. Candidates have to file a nominating petition containing valid signatures from 5% of the registered voters in the area they would represent. The last day for filing as a petition candidate is July 15th.
You will be reading more about this in the weeks to come. I will keep you informed as this drama progresses.
This week the House of Representatives tackled the monumental task of restructuring a major part of state government. Please ignore any news reports that pit this as a battle between all sides. We’re earnestly trying to create an organizational structure that is more efficient and responsive and will stand the test of time over many decades to come.
Eliminating the Budget & Control Board: SC is the only state with a Budget & Control Board; a five member panel that oversees about 1300 employees and many functions of state government. In recent years, the House has passed three bills creating a Department of Administration. At a State House news conference Wednesday, the House GOP Caucus announced plans for a new version of the proposed state Department of Administration. It fully eliminates the Budget & Control Board and gives the Governor’s office control of 90% of the old B&C Board. The House Amendment also shrinks the current number of employee allocations by 10%. The goal is a more streamlined and efficient state government with accountability and checks and balances. Here’s how it’s organized. Click on the image to enlarge it.
The newest House plan differs from the Senate version which called for splitting the B&C Board in 10 different government agencies, including 8 new ones. After much debate, the House voted 71-33 to approve the amended plan. The bill heads back to the Senate. The goal is to get this major reorganization accomplished before session ends next month.
True Transparency! The House voted to make public any ethics violation against a House member where they find probable cause. Previously, all hearings were done in executive session.
Copper Bill: As you recall, the Governor signed a bill into law strengthening the law regarding non-ferrous metals (copper and others). Recyclers were required to pay by check only when buying copper and anyone trying to sell copper and other metals were required to register for a permit with the Sheriff’s Office. After being in effect for a number of months, there were several changes that needed to be made and had the consensus of the stakeholders, such as the SC Sheriff’s Association, the SC Insurance Industry, the SC Recyclers, the state utilities and others. These changes are being stalled in the Senate by 2 senators and risk the possibility of not passing this session. If this happens, we will have to wait until next year to rectify problems.I am working in the House to attach an amendment to a Senate bill in order to get this law changed for the betterment of all involved. I put up a lengthy amendment on Thursday that was ruled non germane after an objection by another House member. We have made the changes to the amendment to make it germane and hope to get it passed on Tuesday.
Moped Bill: I reported to you many months ago that we passed the Moped bill out of the House and sent it to the Senate. As you recall, the current law does not allow a law enforcement officer to charge someone driving a moped with DUI. THIS BILL IS ALSO BEING HELD UP BY 2 SENATORS IN THE SENATE. It is doubtful we can put enough pressure on these two minority party senators to have them withdraw their objections.