A bill that would require all votes in the state Senate to be role call votes was discussed in the Senate Thursday. Currently many votes in both the House and Senate are taken as voice votes. Opponents say it would be a waste of valuable time in a legislative session which some lawmakers say is already the longest in the country.
Beaufort County Republican Senator Tom Davis brought the bill forth, but his collegues argued that the legislative year will soon enter its last month, with the budget and other legislation still to be debated, and it should not be held up. Davis withdrew his motion, allowing the bill to be discussed in a Senate subcommittee.
(Davis on roll call votes MP3 1:14)
Davis on roll call bill
In the House, Lexington County Republican Nikki Haley, who is running for governor, pushed for role call voting. Advocates support the measure in the name of transparency, saying that every lawmaker’s voting record should be perfectly clear.
Some senators questioned if allowing a House bill to direct an important rule of the Senate was in accordance with the state’s constitution. Davis, an attorney, argued that the bill is constitutional.
But Senate President Pro Tem Glenn McConnell, who wanted the motion tabled before Davis withdrew his attempt, called the roll call measure a fad. He implored his colleagues not to bog down the Senate at a crucial time. McConnell said the Senate had already approved a litany of circumstances that require roll call votes, and he said Senators can add to that list as much as they want. But he urged them to be practical.
(McConnell on roll call votes MP3 9:09)
McConnell on roll call votes