Kershaw Senator Vincent Sheheen pushed for a state Department of Administration long before he and Nikki Haley ran against each other for governor. While they agree on the issue, they differ on how the bill H. 3066 should be passed.
Sheheen supported this bill and authored others to restructure government, some of which are still waiting in the House and Senate. He says they are important ones to add to the list. He says now that the events of the last week may hurt the chances of all of them:
I think the legislative leaders, the governor all know that regardless of the publicity and the politics, if we’re going to have a solid change in state government structure, we need to work out the details that we have already worked on: the Department of Administration, legislative oversight, on the Inspector General and then come back like rational people and then pass a solid, good bill in January. I think the hype has gotten out of control, the personalities have gotten out of control and it’s time that people just calm down and take this one step at a time.
The bill to empower an Inspector General was moving too slowly for the governor’s Inspector General designee, who resigned in frustration.
A last-minute amendment to the Department of Administration measure now means the bill should wait, says Sheheen:
The Senate moved to abolish the Budget and Control Board and I was hoping that the governor would get on board with that and we can fine-tune it over the off-session and then in, in January. That plan has not quite played out quite that way but I am still optimistic that we can regain that momentum after we pass reapportionment and the budget and people calm down and then when we come back in January, we can be ready to go.
The governor says that Senate amendment to abolish the Budget and Control Board was intended to kill the bill. In an interview with SCRN, she said she wants to do away with that agency as it is now, and the changes tacked on at the end of the session actually creates more problems. She says, “You will see me move to absolutely eliminate the Budget and Control Board. We’ve just got to make sure everything goes to the right spot. We’ve just got to make sure we handle it properly.”
Sheheen says some of the emergency financial decision-making done by the Budget and Control Board should go under the governor, or the Legislature should be called back into special session. Those are details that still need to be worked out.
As for next week, he says:
The Legislature needs to go in, quickly finish the budget, quickly finish reapportionment and then go home. That is how the system’s supposed to work. A full-time Legislature is not in anybody’s best interest and right now we are getting awfully close to having legislators who are in session almost all year around.
The General Assembly meets Tuesday starting at noon under a special extension called Sine Die.