Politics & Government

Freshman SC lawmaker wants to boot longtime committee chairs

Rep. Katie Arrington, R-Dorchester
Rep. Katie Arrington, R-Dorchester

A freshman legislator wants to change South Carolina's Constitution to oust veteran politicians as committee chairs and the power that comes with it.

State Rep. Katie Arrington, R-Dorchester, has proposed a constitutional amendment that would limit committee chairmen in the House and Senate to no more than 12 years holding the gavel.

“For too long, our state has suffered because certain politicians refuse to accept new ways to solve problems,” Arrington said. “South Carolinians suffer because these politicians remain complacent, as issue like our roads worsen, simply for the sake of maintaining their own political power.”

“While I know my legislation will not make me many new friends in Columbia, I also know that this legislation is necessary to truly return power back to the people,” she said.

Because Arrington’s proposal would write the change into the Constitution, it faces a long road — and steep odds — to passage.

The House and Senate would have to approve the change — including the political veterans that Arrington wants to oust from power. That is unlikely. Voters also would have to approve the change in a statewide referendum.

Arrington said she made the change a constitutional amendment because, if it were a change were made only in the Legislature’s rule, “power-hungry politicians” simply would change the rule when it was convenient.