The public’s ears have been bombarded by the term “earmark” lately. In national news, Congress is sparring over what’s necessary spending and what is “pork,” that is, funding projects simply to keep local constituents happy.
Senators Lindsay Graham and Jim Clyburn both say that not all earmarks are bad–if they are needed.
In fact, all this talk of earmarks have put Senator Graham and his mentor, Senator John McCain, at odds with each other. McCain took issue with a new 950 thousand dollar convention center slated for Myrtle Beach.
The South Carolina Legislature this week debates earmark reform. Bill sponsor, Edgefield Senator Shane Massey, says he is not judging whether any so called “earmark” is valid–his bill wants to leave that to the public.
Massey explains, “That’s the main point of the whole bill. It’s to ensure that if I’m requesting a project for Edgefield County, I ought to have to identify myself as requesting the project and tell people what the merits of the project are so that we can have a real debate as to whether it’s worthy of state funding. And that’s the big deal because right now the disclosure isn’t there.”
Senator Massey says when he did not know when he filed the bill that “earmarks” would become a hot topic, but he says it got some attention. “It was definitely something new.”
The only change to Massey’s bill that the Senate committee made was replacing the word “earmark” with the words “funds in an appropriations bill.”
Senate Bill 239 is due for full debate on the Senate floor this week.