May 21, 2014

Progress on the adjutant general, at last

Who knew it was this simple to move our state forward?

Who knew it was this simple to move our state forward?

Since April 2013 — 13 months — H.3541 has sat undebated on the Senate calendar, as a single senator prevented the Senate from so much as discussing the idea of letting voters decide this fall whether to let the governor appoint the state’s military leader, as all the other governors do.

So when I wrote our endorsement of Adjutant General Bob Livingston, I devoted as much space to arguing for this change as I did arguing for Gen. Livingston’s re-election. The endorsement was to run today, and I had to get it on the Opinion page and online early in the day, since I had to spend four hours in a dark room Tuesday afternoon learning how to use the new version of our publishing system. Four of the 18 hours I am spending learning that new system this week.

After I finished my class and made some final adjustments to the pages and was about to leave the office, I decided to do a quick check of the wire to see what had been going on (besides Attorney General Alan Wilson filing that motion asking the Supreme Court to overturn Circuit Judge Casey Manning’s decision granting legislators immunity from prosecution for abusing their offices) in the state.

And to my amazement, the Senate had suddenly taken up the adjutant general referendum, approved the committee amendment and approved the bill. Unanimously.

And just like that, we’re two very realistic steps away from a constitutional referendum on abandoning our Antebellum tradition of election of a military leader. And you know what? I didn’t even mind having to stay at the office later rewriting the editorial and making it fit on the print page and making sure I got the changes made online.

So to our senators, well done. Just one vote away from finishing the job. Well, two actually, because they still have to approve H.3540, which spells out the qualifications the governor’s appointed adjutant general would have to meet, and the rules for removal. That could come as soon as today.

Then it’s back to the House, and the weekend for everyone to read over the Senate language and make sure that the qualifications bill in particular is written correctly. Talk about a great day in South Carolina.

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