Lawmakers return to the Statehouse Tuesday for a special session to consider a law change that will qualify jobless workers for an extended 20 weeks of federal unemployment benefits. Approximately 7,000 South Carolinians lost their benefits earlier this month when state benefits ended.
Senate President Pro Tem Glenn McConnell says, “We’re going back to deal with the Employment Security Commission failure to inform us they need to tweak the formula in order to get the federal stimulus money. That is the sole purpose at this particular hour. There could be some other purposes dealing with economic incentives that we could deal with, but I don’t know that that will happen.”
In the session, McConnell says Governor Sanford’s impeachment may come up as a topic, but he says, due to time, it may be hard for legislators to pass a bill.
“There’s nothing under the rules to stop a member from introducing, particularly in the House of Representatives, which is where it would have to be handled, the articles of impeachment. But, given the fact that we are only going to be there for two days, they would have to get that bill back out of the committee and get it to the floor, and that, to me, would be premature because you need to have all of the facts,” says McConnell.
McConnell says he expects a couple lawmakers may stand up to address the impeachment issue, but it needs to be based on the state’s laws.
“People need to keep in mind we have an impeachment constitution, we do not have a recall provision in our constitution. And this isn’t a popularity contest and it has to be based on very strict constitutional grounds. But, there’s nothing to prohibit a member from getting up and making that speech. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if one or two didn’t hop up in the Senate also,” says McConnell.
Although impeachment may be among other topics at the special session, McConnell says unemployment is to be the main topic of discussion.
“We’re going back basically to deal with getting benefits to people who otherwise won’t get them. And, secondly, if there are any economic incentives we need to put on the table for some things that we are working on,” says McConnell.
The session will begin at noon Tuesday.