State Senate President Pro Tem Glenn McConnell, R-Charleston, isdrafting a resolution to let senators decide whether to continue debateon Gov. Nikki Haley's top priority bill.
In a letter to senators Wednesday, McConnell said he would draft ameasure that would add Haley's bill to create a new Department ofAdministration to the limited list of bills that senators can take upwhen they return to work Tuesday for a special session.
Two-thirds of the Senate's 46 members would have to agree to take up thebill.
Haley applauded McConnell's letter Wednesday.
She says the bill would streamline some aspects of state government andshift portions of state government's day-to-day operations to the newdepartment, directly under the governor's control. Those functions noware managed by the state Budget and Control Board.
The bill Haley prefers would not abolish the Budget and Control Board,but nonetheless would save the state money, she says. Critics say herplan would increase the size and cost of state government by leaving theBudget and Control Board still operating and starting a newAdministration Department.
To address those criticisms, senators earlier this month votedunanimously to abolish the budget board.
The House must also agree, by a two-thirds vote, to take up Haley's bill. House leaders are waiting to see if the Senate can garner the necessary votes to take the bill up before taking their own vote.
"We don't know at this point, right now, if we'll try to (change the resolution on what can be discussed next week,)" said Greg Foster, spokesman for House Speaker Bobby Harrell, R-Charleston. "It takes a two-thirds vote which is very hard to get."
Haley had called the General Assembly back to work last week to take upthe Administration bill and three others, all already passed by theHouse. But McConnell filed a lawsuit to block that special session, andthe state Supreme Court agreed with him that Haley had overstepped herauthority in calling lawmakers back.