Governor Haley late this afternoon called on state senators to “work through the night” to pass the entire restructuring bill–one that has tied up Senate debate for five weeks.
AUDIO: Haley calls press conference to ask Senate to “hunker down.” (1:37)
The Senate honored part of her request Tuesday. They passed an amendment– sponsored by Senators Tom Davis (R-Beaufort), Vincent Sheheen (D-Kershaw) and Shane Massey (R-Edgefield) to abolish the agency and the governing panel known as the Budget and Control board, then they went home for the day. Debate on the entire bill will continue Wednesday.
Senators debated the Davis amendment all day, with Senate Finance Committee Chairman High Leatherman defending the five-member Budget and Control Board:
AUDIO: Leatherman says the board’s oversight helps prevent corruption, gave examples (2:48)
While the governor called on the Senate to finish the bill today, Sen. Vincent Sheheen says that is not realistic for such a major measure.
AUDIO: Sheheen says restructuring measure is too important to rush through
It has been a long, complicated process for the restructuring bill. A less ambitious version passed the House last March which, while shifting away some of its duties, kept the board intact. Senators altered the bill slightly in committee, before easing up to focus on the budget and redistricting by the end of May. Haley ordered them back into session, but the Supreme Court stopped her.
Davis, Massey and Sheheen then forced a vote on their amendment that made major changes, including dissolving the Budget and Control Board completely. That amendment passed the Senate in June by a 43-0 vote. Haley objected to the amendment, saying it created several entirely new agencies. That was when last year’s session ended.
Earlier this year, Davis and Sheheen agreed some changes were needed to their amendment, in an effort to more clearly dictate which former board functions went where. Amendment 77, which was approved Tuesday, addressed most of those changes.