The Voter ID Bill is still up in the air after a back-and-forth pattern between the two separate versions in the House and Senate.
The House had its version of the budget, they passed it, and it came to the Senate. We amended it, changed it, then it went back to the House. The House struck all the Senate language and reverted it back to the House language and then they sent it back to the Senate.
And, when it returned to the Senate, Republicans voted “non-concur” to the Voter ID Bill. Berkeley Senator Larry Grooms explains what that means–
Concurring has said, yes we want the House version. If the numbers had been there on that vote, then it would be over. It would be on its way to the governor’s desk today to become law then subject to the Justice Department pre-clearance. A vote to non-concur sets up a conference committee where there will be three House members and three Senate members that will meet probably on Tuesday or Wednesday to go section by section.
This isn’t the first time a voter ID bill has gone to joint conference. A similar bill went through the process last year after the bodies could not reach an agreement. The final report out of conference was adopted by the House, but never got to a vote in the Senate.
Grooms’ neighboring senator, Charleston Senator Chip Campsen, says sending the bill to conference committee would increase the chances of coming out with a passed bill. Here’s why:
In order to shutdown the filibuster that the Democrats had on the bill when it came through the first time this year there was a commitment made that the bill would go to conference and there would be an effort to get as much of the Senate version as you can, but ultimately there would be a bill.
Campsen says it is not unusual to bring a bill before a conference committee where the House and Senate can agree. He says state Democrats don’t want the Voter ID Bill altogether–but:
I think they probably see the writing on the wall and wanted to get as much as they could. But, no they just don’t like it. The filibuster we were dealing with is not just a filibuster where we didn’t have the votes to sit them down and stop it. But, even if you had evoked closure, meaning you cut off debate and you’re going to have a vote, just they had 483 amendments on the desk.
Campsen says those amendments would consume a huge amount, if not all, of the legislative session.
Grooms says he just wants to make sure there is a Voter ID Bill. He says he does not want to go through another election without Voter ID.
Both Grooms and Campsen were on Charleston affiliate WTMA.