State lawmakes return to the statehouse Tuesday to begin another legislative year. One of the first items on the House’s agenda will be a resolution to censure Governor Mark Sanford.
House Judiciary Chairman Jim Harrison says the focus will be on censure, not on the impeachment resolution, which his committee dealt with in December. “The only way the impeachment resolution could come foward at this point is if a majority of members of the House move to recall it to the floor, and a majority vote to approve that,” says Harrison. “I don’t see that happening unless some new revelations come out about additional misconduct.”
Harrison says a censure is a serious matter for any governor. “If the House and Senate passes it, it will be a historical document in the record admonishing the governor for miscondct,” he says. “And I’m sure that the governor would rather us not censure him. Just how history looks at this will define how serious a censure is.”
But there is a question at this point whether the Senate will pass the censure resolution. Senate President Pro Tem Glenn McConnell says the House has already done its job in conducting the impeachment hearings, and he wants to move on from the issue quickly so that it won’t take time from important legislation. Senator Larry Martin says he and other senators want to speak on the issue but he realizes that it may be sent to a committee and end up in someone’s drawer somewhere, for good.
House Speaker Bobby Harrell says he wants the matter dealth with and behind them. “The people want us to move on, focus on the economy, focus on jobs, improving education,” he says. “I think it’s entirely appropriate that we get it up, debate it, spend the whole day and night if we have to. Then vote on it and move on.”