Governor Nikki Haley does not appear to be backing down after her setback in the South Carolina Supreme Court this week. Appearing on SCRN affiliate WVOC in Columbia Tuesday, Haley said she would push senators to take up a bill that creates a new Department of Administration. Since the Senate will be in special session, that would require a two-thirds vote.
Haley said she was upset senators did not pass the bill despite holding it on their calendar for more than two months.
The only reason they run out of time is because they don’t want something to pass. What I am saying is, vote it up or down. If you’re for it, vote for it. If you’re against it, vote against it, but don’t sit there and think that the people of this state are fools and not tell them the truth.
The bill, as passed by the House in March, would shift most of the state’s bureaucracy out of the Budget and Control Board— a part-legislative, part executive board— and into the new Cabinet-level agency. Senators passed an amendment Thursday that would abolish the board entirely.
Haley said her relationship with legislators was not damaged.
We will continue to have a good working relationship with the legislature, but it will be a working relationship in which they understand this is about results. Not about talking, but about showing the people of this state what we’re going to get done for them.
Senate President pro tempore Glenn McConnell (R-Charleston), who filed the lawsuit, said he worried Haley may have burned several bridges by her actions. He said the governor was undermining herself by angering senators shortly before they could potentially vote to give her more power.
In a statement released shortly after the Court’s decision, Haley said the ball was in McConnell’s court when the president pro tem said he would try to get the restructuring bill placed on next week’s agenda. The governor reiterated that position Tuesday.
If he wants it done, it will happen. It’s been the case for years, it will continue to be the case for years.If he doesn’t want it to happen, it won’t happen. That has always been the challenge of the Senate; that one or two people control it. He is certainly one person that can decide what happens.
However, McConnell disputed that, telling WLMA radio in Charleston that he supports the bill, but is only one vote among 46 senators.
If I can ensure that things pass, don’t you know the raffles bill and gaming law changes would already have passed the Senate? I’m one of 46. What she needs to do is she needs to talk to some of those people who are not voting with us.
The bill has bipartisan support, but ran into a snag after Democratic senators (upset House leaders had broken their promise on a separate early voting bill) held up debate Thursday. Despite the pleas of Senate Majority Leader Harvey Peeler (R-Cherokee), a small group of senators weighed the restructuring legislation down with more than 70 amendments.
Even if senators voted to take up the bill next week, it’s not clear if Democrats would allow it to come up for a vote.