COLUMBIA, SC — S.C. lawmakers took a big step Tuesday to allowing voters the chance to decide whether to stop electing the state's adjutant general.
The S.C. Senate gave unanimous key approval Tuesday to a bill that would allow voters to change the state constitution to allow the governor to appoint the adjutant general with approval by the Senate.
The House already passed that bill and another that lists the qualifications for a leader of the state National Guard.
South Carolina is the last state to elect the leader of its state National Guard.
The Senate needs to take one more perfunctory vote on each of the two bills before they need to return to House since amendments were added.
Once the details are ironed out, the bills would head to Gov. Nikki Haley's desk. She supports the bill, her office said. First Gentleman Michael Haley is a captain in the S.C. National Guard, who returned from a year-long deployment to Afghanistan in December.
If passed before the session ends, voters would cast ballots on the constitution change in November. The adjutant general election this fall would be the last if approved by voters.
Current adjutant general Bob Livingston, who is seeking re-election, supports the governor appointing the guard leader.
Meanwhile, the S.C. House gave a key approval to a bill by a 97-2 vote that ratifies putting the governor and lieutenant governor on the same ticket in 2018.
The change to the state constitution was favored by voters in 2012. The state Senate has approved the combined ticket, and the House needs one more perfunctory vote.