COLUMBIA, SC — Depending on who you ask, state senators Tuesday tried to kill a government restructuring bill or made sure it will pass.
The bill, which would eliminate the State Budget and Control Board in favor of a Department of Administration controlled by the governor, already had passed the Senate Judiciary Committee. However, senators voted Tuesday to send the proposal to the Senate Finance Committee, headed by Haley critic and state Sen. Hugh Leatherman, for another vetting.
“Any vote to move it to Finance would be a vote to stall or kill the bill,” Haley said Tuesday.
But included in the deal to send the bill to the Finance Committee was a guarantee that the Senate will debate the bill on Feb. 20.
“What we got was a date certain to have this bill considered in the Senate, which is a very rare thing,” said state Sen. Vincent Sheheen, D-Kershaw.
Haley and Sheheen, who ran against each other for governor in 2010 and likely will again in 2014, have to work together to get this restructuring bill passed. Haley, who campaigned on the bill, has been working to get restructuring passed for three years. Sheheen is the bill’s primary sponsor, along with state Sen. Shane Massey, R-Edgefield.
Leatherman, R-Florence, chairman of the Finance Committee, said Tuesday he would not block the bill. But, Leatherman added, because the proposal deals with the State Budget and Control Board, it needs to be vetted by the Finance Committee, according to the Senate’s rules.
“I have no intention of stalling this,” he said. “This extremely important piece of legislation needs to be debated on by the Senate, and it needs to be done by the rules.”