South Carolina House members did not hear a resolution Tuesday calling for the impeachment of Governor Mark Sanford. State lawmakers met in special session to give approval to a change of law that will allow thousands of out-of-work South Carolinians to receive extended federal benefits. But Republican Greg Delleney had planned to introduce a resolution that would have been the first steps of impeachment. Democrat Walt McLeod raised a point of order, and Speaker Bobby Harrell agreed with McLeod that the resolution was out of order, according to the rules governing specifically what the House is allowed to do during this special session.
Delleney argued that impeachment is a special responsibility of the House, not limited by the usual rules.
Delleney can file his resolution next month in advance of the regular session, which begins in January.
McLeod argued that Delleney’s resolution was not appropriate, and not well timed because the state Ethics Commission report on Sanford was not yet available.
“Mr. Delleney may have some strong points later on, but at this point, Mr. Delleney’s proposal is absolutely immature, I mean premature,” said McLeod. “But,” he joked, “it might even be immature.” Most House members laughed at his slip of tongue.
Speaker Harrell thanked both Delleney and McLeod for giving him a heads up about their arguments, in advance, so that the issue could be researched. He then ruled that the resolution would be out of order.
Democrat Gilda Cobb Hunter pointed out that lawmakers returned to Columbia specifically to bring more funds to unemployed workers, not for impeachment.
In April, Cobb-Hunter had proposed the original legislation concerning the extended unemployment benefits, legislation which was later tied into an overhaul of the Employment Security Commission, legislation which the House voted down. Lawmakers returned to Columbia Tuesday because they did not pass that legislation during the regular session.
Delleney emphasized that he only wanted to introduce the measure so that it could be dealt with in January, during the regular session.