The hot topic at the Statehouse Wednesday happened not in chambers but in subcommittee. House member Nikki Haley’s bill to require roll call voting has passed the House and is in Senate subcommittee, where it is likely to stay. Instead Senate leaders are pushing forward with their own rules change that, according to Senate President Pro Tem Glenn McConnell, is less “ragged.”
(Sen. McConnell on what he says are the bill’s flaws MP3 :44)
McConnell on why he calls bill “ragged”
In a committee roomed packed with Tea Parties leaders, the Senate leadership was on hand to hear why a statute should decide how votes are conducted.
McConnell, Larry Martin of Pickens and Jake Knotts of Lexington and SC Constitution specialist and attorney Elizabeth Van Doren Gray stand by Rule 22 that each chamber can make its own rules. They contend that the Constitution protects the Senate rules from sweeping laws, like the one Haley has proposed.
It took everything I could to just sit there and listen to this. It is a sad day in South Carolina when you tell me its unconstitutional that the people of this state don’t have the right to know how their legislator’s vote.
Haley’s statements were followed by loud cheers and applause from the onlookers. She gestured to them repeatedly as she argued that the bill should be allowed to make it to the Senate floor:
(Haley makes her case for her roll call bill MP3 1:23)Haley argues for her bill
Which led to a heated exchange between Haley and Knotts, who also represents her district in the Senate. (Haley and Knotts exchange MP3 :32) Haley and Knotts interchange MP3 Then Haley shot back, saying , “It is arrogance like this which is why I am running for governor in this state.”
“I wish you well,” was Knott’s reply.
This interchange prompted Ashley Landess of the not-for-profit SC Policy Council to blurt, “He’s out.” Landess also spoke to the committee : Landess on roll call
Cory Norris of the Columbia Tea Party responded to that when he had the podium today:
You work for us and we will hold you accountable. And we will not give up on this fight. I can tell you one thing, if you continue to stand in opposition to this bill, the only fad you’ll have to worry about is your tenure in office because it’s going to be going out of style.
The Senate panel had the last say, leaving the bill in subcommittee for now. There are only a few weeks left in this legislative session.