Senate President Pro Tem Glenn McConnell came out on top in his South Carolina Supreme Court case against Governor Nikki Haley’s call for a special session this week to take up a restructuring bill.
I was in her office. I asked her not to do it. I said, ‘Look, we possibly could still get that bill.’ She said, ‘I want that bill, ya’ll been here and have not done it and I’m going to order ya’ll back.’ I said, ‘Governor, I don’t think you have that authority.’ And, she said, ‘My lawyers say that I do.’ And, I said, ‘Well, all lawyers have opinions.’ The sad part of this thing was I just couldn’t believe the resistance I was getting from within the Republican Party just standing up for the Constitution.
In McConnell’s favor, a 3-2 vote said the governor’s order violates separation of powers and goes against the state Constitution. On Monday, the governor said McConnell may say he’s in favor of her restructuring bill, but she doesn’t believe he is because of his actions. McConnell explains those actions–
We’re on the same side but she has got to understand Government 101, and that is there are 46 senators, and I’m one of 46. We have to get the votes and she has got to help get the votes.
McConnell says after the court ruling came through, Haley sent out a press release that said the ball is in McConnell’s court and he needs to ensure bills pass. McConnell responds–
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 and get it.
The governor was focused on four different bills in her attempt to call lawmakers back in. One would create a Department of Administration, another places the lieutenant governor and governor on the same ticket, and a third would make the state Superintendent of Education an appointed, not elected, position. Another bill would combine the Department of Probation, Pardon and Parole with the Department of Corrections.
McConnell and the rest of the Senate will return June 14 to take up specific business as designated in the Sine Die resolution: redistricting and the state budget.