COLUMBIA, SC — A key senate leader said he plans to ask Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell to not resign Thursday and extend his stay in the No. 2 post until later this month so he can validate all bills passed by the General Assembly this session.
Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Larry Martin, R-Pickens, said that if Senate President Pro Tempore John Courson ratifies bills after McConnell resigns that the Richland Republican could be forced to leave his senate seat and become lieutenant governor.
"A member of the Senate acting as Lieutenant Governor shall thereupon vacate his seat and another person shall be elected in his stead," the S.C. Constitution says.
Courson repeated Tuesday that he prefers to stay in his more powerful senate seat even though he is next in line to become lieutenant governor, a part-time job with little influence.
McConnell announced Monday that Thursday, the final regular day of the General Assembly, would be his last as lieutenant governor.
He said his job should not go unfilled, even though the lieutenant governors office has remained vacant for lengthy periods six times since 1879. Gov, Nikki Haley also wants the post filled. A new lieutenant governor will be elected in the fall and take office in January.
The Legislature is scheduled to return June 17-19 in an extended session to finish the budget and vote on any conference reports. Martin said he would ask McConnell to stay until June 19 to ratify the budget and any other leftover bills.
McConnell, who is ending a three-decade political career to become the president at the College of Charleston, had eye surgery Tuesday. Efforts to reach him were unsuccessful.