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January 23, 2013

Sources: State Senator wants to delay restructuring bill

Sen. Hugh Leatherman on Thursday will attempt to delay a government restructuring bill championed by Gov. Nikki Haley, several sources have confirmed to The State newspaper.

Sen. Hugh Leatherman on Thursday will attempt to delay a government restructuring bill championed by Gov. Nikki Haley, several sources have confirmed to The State newspaper.

The bill would abolish the state Budget and Control Board, moving most of the state’s administrative functions, like human resources and information technology, under a newly created Department of Administration. The new agency would be a cabinet-level agency that would report directly to the governor.

The bill has already passed the Senate Judiciary Committee and will be on the Senate calendar Thursday. But Leatherman wants to send the bill to the Senate Finance Committee, where Leatherman is chairman. Senate rules say the Finance Committee should vet bills that deal with the state Budget and Control Board.

Attempts to reach Leatherman were unsuccessful.

Supporters, including Sen. Shane Massey, R-Edgefield, fear the move could kill the bill. Senators will have to vote Thursday on what to do. If anything, it will be an early test of the bill’s support.

Haley campaigned on the idea of a Department of Administration in 2010. But the versions of the bill did not pass in 2011 or 2012. Last year, the House and Senate passed similar versions of the bill by large margins. But the bill died during a procedural vote in the Senate on the last day of the legislative session.

Haley made a big push for the bill during her State of the State address last week. If the bill does not pass this year, it could be difficult to pass it in 2014 -- when Haley will be up for reelection.

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