A state government restructuring bill that got final reading the South Carolina Senate—has been three years in the making and is sure to face more debate in the House.
The measure would create a new Department of Administration under the governor and redistributes the operations of the massive agency known as the Budget and Control Board.
It passed easily in the Senate Thursday after weeks of committee work— two committees in fact. In a rare legislative action, both the Judiciary and Finance committees were allowed to review the bill.
One of the proposals key sponsors, Sen. Shane Massey (R-Edgefield) disagreed with the version that the Senate passed,which keeps major procurement decisions out of the governors office. The Senate did go along with his ideas to give the Legislature more oversight over Cabinet agencies and deficit spending.
“There is a whole lot of good in this bill,” he says. “I think it makes us have a stronger structure of government in South Carolina. It separartes the paowers wiht a more clean division of what is executive and what is legislative. There’s still some problems I have with procurement, but I lost that fight.”
The bill’s author, Sen. Vincent Sheheen (D-Kershaw) says the bill is ” historic and moves the state forward dramatically.”
The strength of this year’s version, says Sheheen, is its clarity: “It has been fine tuned to be more specific about what will happen.”
Lexington Democrat Nikki Setzler defended the version that came out of Finance, keeping purchasing power under a State Fiscal Authority Accountability panel that mirrors the current five-member Budget and Control Board.
“That’s five members overseeing procurement versus one person. I like five better than one.” Setzler says.
The Department of Administration bill now heads to the House. Massey says he is anxious that the House does not wait too long to act on the bill, since a version of last years died in the last days of the past session.