Gov. Nikki Haley and Sen. Vincent Sheheen, D-Kershaw are fierce opponents in the 2014 race for governor, but are on the same side of a major bill that passed Tuesday. Haley is expected to sign the measure that Vincent Sheheen initiated about six years ago. After more than two years of intense attention — and imploring by Haley — what became Senate Bill 22 finally suited leaders of both the House and Senate. The final votes; 118-0 in the House, 39-4 in the Senate.
Sheheen’s response to the bill’s passage included an indirect jab at Haley:
“For many years, people didn’t take it seriously, didn’t join together but we kept pushing and I built those bridges across party lines and I think that was really important,” Sheheen told South Carolina Radio Network. “Sen. Shane Massey from Edgefield, who’s a Republican and I have worked incredibly hard over the last few years and then it began to get attention of other people and it began to be politically popular to support and once you build that momentum, everybody comes running on board and you see what happened today–we had a overwhelming vote in support of it.”
Haley made her public statement on Facebook:
“Carroll Campbell is smiling today as the House and Senate passed the biggest piece of government reform since he was governor almost 20 years ago. South Carolina is showing the world that we are no longer in the dark ages! Another Great Day in South Carolina!”
House leaders said the highlights of the bill include:
- Prohibiting any state agency from running a deficit unless it receives the explicit approval of the General Assembly,
- protecting the state’s AAA credit rating by creating two small, independent agencies (with a total of fewer than 200 employees) with broad decision-making structures to ensure secure management of the state’s fiduciary responsibilities. This includes bonding authority and the state auditor,
- Keeping Office of State Budget and the Board of Economic Advisors independent from the Governor’s Office and the General Assembly, ensuring politics does not play a role in effective budgeting, and
- requiring the General Assembly to review every state agency on a five-year basis.