After more than a week of Democrats speaking against the issue, on Tuesday the South Carolina House passed a concurrent resolution that affirms the state rights amendment found in the U.S. Constitution. The resolution passed on a vote of 85-27.
Williamsburg County Democrat Ken Kennedy accused bill sponsor Eric Beddingfield, the House Majority leader, of submitting the legislation in order to secure his House seat. Kennedy says that he did not understand Republicans.
(Kennedy on resolution MP3 10:43)
Kennedy on resolution MP3 10:43
House Speaker Bobby Harrell says the measure sends a message to Congress that the federal government is engaging in an unprecedented takeover of power from the states. He says legislation like the Real ID bill and what he calls the attempt to socialize health care are eroding away rights.
But Republicans say that while they only spent 16 minutes speaking about the resolution, Democrats wasted hours of legislative time. The resolution that passed Tuesday originated in the Senate. The original House version passed quietly last year.
Laurens County Republican Michael Pitts wrapped up the debate, speaking for only a few minutes. He said the resolution is not about secession. “That would be an interesting debate but I don’t think we want to try that again,” said Pitts. “As I’ve told friends in Pennsylvania and Ohio we tried that once and it didn’t work out too good. South Carolina is still being punished for that.”