When it was clear the Legislature was going to wrap up for the year without passing one of her key measures, Gov. Nikki Haley called a press conference — to call lawmakers back in to finish their work.
She says she has the power and the precedent to make them return. She wants them to pass four bills dealing with restructuring the government, the most important to her being a bill establishing a Department of Administration to take on much of the general operations and administrative work of the State Budget and Control Board.
When time ran out today, the Senate had just added an amendment to that bill to eliminate the board altogether by 2013. Bill sponsor, Democrat Vincent Sheheen says it is now “Tee’d up and ready to go in January,” when they return to regular session. That is not soon enough for the governor.
Critics of this tactics say it will save neither time nor money, actually costing $42,000 or more a day that has not been budgeted.
“That’s a teacher a day,” says Rep. Todd Rutherford (D-Richland).
Veteran House Democrat Gilda Cobb-Hunter questions whether calling them back in will accomplish anything, as the same personalities and issues will still be in play.
One of those key issues was Sen. John Scott’s protest over an early voting measure not being honored in the House. His answer was to tie up the Senate calender on the last day.
While House members will be on “stand-by” to pass whatever comes out of the Senate, some say they may not be able to remedy Scott’s complaint.