After a two week furlough, members of the South Carolina House of Representatives were back to work Tuesday. The House Judiciary Committee hit the ground running by discussing several measures aimed at the restructuring of state government. Measures passed out of the committee included a bill that would place candidates for Governor and Lieutenant Governor on one ticket similar to how candidates for President and Vice President are slated on the federal level. The measure would require amending the state constitution. For passage the proposal would require a two-thirds vote by the House and the Senate and a vote of the people in the next general election in 2010. Other proposals passed through included changing several constitutional offices from elected positions to positions appointed by the Governor including secretary of Agriculture and Secretary of State. Alluding to the stimulus funds and budget debate, Newberry County Representative Walter McLeod objected to the Superintendent of Education becoming an appointed position especially in light of present Governor Sanford’s action of “holding hostage “funds that could be used for public education. Committee Chair Jim Harrison says such a measure would not take effect for years if it is approved.”This will have to voted on by the public in 2010 and at that point a superintendent will be elected in the next election and we can’t end that office during that term, so it wouldn’t take effect I don’t think until 2014, so if the concern is the current Governor (Sanford) he’ll be long gone by the time this ever goes into effect.”
McLeod says he is concerned about the current governor but he is more concerned about the pattern of behavior the Governor has displayed that could be carried forth by a future Governor.
“We do not need a governor to behave in the manner that we have had one in recent weeks, years, and months with respect to public schools. Public schools are the very foundation of our democratic society in our state. I’m opposed to the concept in general and in particular.”
Despite McCleod’s objections the measure passed out of committee. All measures that would change constitutional elected offices to positions appointed by the Governor requires that all appointments be approved with the advice and consent of the House and Senate.