The South Carolina House has finally overridden the governor’s veto that allows law enforcement officers to perform searches of individuals those on probation or parole. The vote was 74-37, meaning that the two-thirds majority won by only one vote.
This was the second attempt at the override. Last week the vote was 16 votes short of the super majority required, even though the House had passed the same bill in February by a vote of 81-26.
The Senate has already overridden the veto.
House Speaker Bobby Harrell said the search bill makes sense to him, and the constitutional complaint doesn’t hold water.
(Harrell on warrantless searches MP3 1:27)
Harrell on warrantless searches
Harrell says those people being searched would only be those on probation or parole.
Lexington County Republican Mac Toole was opposed to The veto. He said that law enforcement needs the right to make warrantless searches. He said he would vote to protect the rights of victims.
This veto was one of those times when Democrats actually agreed, for the most part as a group, with Republican governor Mark Sanford.
Williamsburg Democrat Ken Kennedy said that Charleston Mayor Joe Riley has been pushing the bill, connected to a budget cuts that reduced the number of probation officers.
Kennedy said the law is an erosion of constitutional rights. He said in pre-WWII Nazi Germany constitutional law was eroded one law at a time.
Democratic Representative Joe Neal of Richland County said, historically, police states in other countries have developed in a very specific way: Because societies become apathetic toward the freedoms they already have. Neal says the legislation would erode the constitution.
(Neal on warrantless searches MP3 3:35)
Neal on warrantless searches