Pickens County Senator Larry Martin said last week that he might support eliminating the position of Lt. Governor in South Carolina. Martin pointed out that his position is not at all against current Lt. Governor Andre Bauer specifically, but he believes that dissolving the position would save some money. And Martin says chances of the Lt. Governor taking over authority from the Governor during an emergency are slim to none.
But Bauer does not like Martin’s idea. “Number one is that the move across the country now is to add Lt. Governors,” says Bauer. “There are now only five states that don’t have a Lt. Governor. New Jersey added one last year.”
The Lt. Governor of South Carolina is a part-time job. The office holds very little policy-making ability.
Bauer also does not like Martin’s idea of having a state senator fill in for the governor in the case of an emergency. “Out of all 46 senatorial districts only one would have had any say so in vetting who would become governor.”
Martin commended Bauer on the job done by the Office on Aging, which is under the Lt. Governor. Bauer says moving the Office on Aging would not be a good idea. “As it is now, finally seniors have an active voice and there is some one in Columbia who they know represents them,” says Bauer. “Before it was buried in an agency and the priorities were not there. Whatever is decided, the people need to make the decision.”
Bauer says the Lt. Governor is there for a reason. “Last year, five Lt. Governors became Governor by virtue of the Governor stepping down,” says Bauer. “In this state seven Lt. Governors have become Governor. The system we have works well.”
Martin says closing the Lt. Governor’s office would save $300,000 to $500,000 a year. Bauer says he doesn’t believe that. Bauer argues that the Lt. Governor’s office is the smallest in state government. He says if a senator takes over the responsibilities, the senate will have to receive extra funding.