A panel of the South Carolina Senate has passed a bill that would require governors–and lieutenant governors–to have a full-time security detail provided by the State Law Enforcement Division.
Republican Sen. Larry Martin of Pickens County says the change is definitely a response to Governor Mark Sanford telling his security detail on many occasions that he didn’t need any security. One of those was when he disappeared from the state and went to Argentina for most of a week.
Martin says they aren’t trying to give the chief of the state’s executive branch a hard time, but he or she should not be able to ditch the security detail. He says the bill needs to replace existing law, which simply says the governor will be offered security.
When Governor Sanford’s records were reviewed by a House panel, Sanford’s attorney noted that many of the times when security was not present were merely trips to the grocery store. Martin says their bill would cover trips to the grocery store. “Yes it does,” he says. “When he leaves the Statehouse or the complex, he would be accompanied by security. What it does not do is mandate that security be with the governor all the times. Obviously he has a privacy issue with his family and friends. But they have to know where he is, and be in the vicinity so they can protect him from any potential threat.”
Martin says SLED officers are especially ready for the job, since they have worked closely with the U.S. Secret Service in the past. And he says he wants candidates running for governor now to know that security will be a requirement.
The bill was amended Thursday to stipulate that the exact amount spent on the governor’s security would not be listed in the state budget, as not to compromise SLED’s security effort.
Sen Martin on guarding the gov ( Sen. Martin comments MP3 3:06)