In a victory for Gov. Nikki Haley, S.C. state senators approved a rule change today, requiring that all Senate votes be recorded.
New Gov. Nikki Haley, R-Lexington, campaigned on the issue, saying the change to recorded votes from oral votes of yes or no would allow the public greater transparency in seeing how lawmakers vote on nearly every bill.
"The people spoke in last year's election. They wanted more transparency," said Senate Majority Leader Harvey Peeler, R-Cherokee, who helped lead an effort last year to require more roll-call votes. "It's a change that's good for the state of South Carolina."
While the Senate rules change passed unanimously, several Democrat senators said the change is not significant and the public already has a way to know how senators vote.
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"If it's a voice vote, then you can and should say, ‘I'm voting with the prevailing side unless I list in the journal my opposition to the prevailing side,’ " said state Sen. Phil Leventis, D-Sumter.
State Sen. Brad Hutto, D-Orangeburg, called the bill a trivial waste of time.
"We have never ever hidden how we voted," Hutto said. "So what are we really doing (with this bill)? We're wasting time."
State representatives already have changed the rules in the House, requiring on-the-record votes for nearly all bills including amendments.