A step to meet the wishes of South Carolina voters passed the state Senate on the final day of the legislative session. But it will take a committee of negotiators from the House and Senate before the bill will become law.
“Next year the lieutentant governor and governor as gubernatorial candidates will run on the same ticket,” State Sen. Chip Campsen, R-Charleston, said.
Voters in 2012 overwhelmingly approved an amendment to the state Constitution ending separate election of the two offices. The amendment is set to take effect in the 2018 election. However, lawmakers had not yet approved statutory language making the transition officially happen.
The bill sets March 30 as the deadline for filing, ends the current practice of the lieutenant governor presiding over the Senate, and changes the President Pro Tempore position to become the Senate’s presiding officer. Additionally, the Senate version of the bill removes the lieutenant governor’s oversight of the Office on Aging and makes the department a Cabinet-level agency.
However, the House is using the bill as a way to push senators into supporting a salary study of key executive officers in South Carolina. Some legislators are concerned that the governor and various elected leaders such as the attorney general and state treasurer all earn less than $100,000. Since the lieutenant governor is considered a part-time job, current Lt. Gov. Kevin Bryant earns $43,000 per year.
Campsen said the bill sets contribution limits at $3,500 per individual donor during an election cycle for the joint ticket.