Getting South Carolina Lawmakers To Go On The Record
It isn’t hard to figure out why South Carolina state legislators spend taxpayer dollars so irresponsibly: anonymous voice votes shield them from being held accountable by constituents.
South Carolina ranks lowest in the nation for legislative accountability and the vast majority of votes in the state legislature are never recorded. South Carolina is one of only five states where legislators are not required to record votes. In 2008, the South Carolina House of Representatives recorded only 8 percent of votes on general bills or joint resolutions, and the Senate recorded only 1 percent.
A roll call rule to improve legislative vote recording took effect in January, but the measure is temporary and subject to the whims of the legislature. The Spending Accountability Act of 2009 (H. 3047) is a more permanent solution introduced by possible 2010 gubernatorial candidate Rep. Nikki Haley. S. 11 is the companion Senate bill.
Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are sponsoring the bills, but support is not universal. Opponents say roll calls for every vote will incur unjustifiable expense, an excuse that’s pretty rich coming from legislators who approved funding for an Elvis impersonator, a deep fryer, and a “Doo-Da” Festival.
A House subcommittee hearing on the Spending Accountability Act is scheduled for Tuesday, April 21, 2009. The citizens of South Carolina have a right to know how elected officials are voting on all issues brought before the South Carolina General Assembly. Remind the legislature that transparency in government is not optional by urging them to pass H. 3047 out of committee so it can be voted on by the entire House.
Contact the following South Carolina House members, as well as your Representative, and let them know that open government is a principle worth fighting for.
Subcommittee Chair Denny Nielson
Rep. Brian White
Rep. Murrell Smith
Rep. Herb Kirsh
Speaker Bobby Harrell
Chairman Dan Cooper
Majority Leader Kenny Bingham
Update, 4/21/09: The Spending Accountability Act of 2009 passed subcommittee today. The next step is a hearing before the full House Ways and Means Committee tomorrow (Wednesday, April 22) at 2:30pm. Contact information for all Ways and Means members is available on the State House Web site, or the following list of email addresses may be copied and pasted into your email client:
HWM@schouse.org, LDB@schouse.org, JAB@schouse.org, KAB@schouse.org, WC@schouse.org, GCH@schouse.org, TE@schouse.org, HB@schouse.org, KK@schouse.org, HBL@schouse.org, LFL@schouse.org, DAL@schouse. org, JL@schouse.org, JM1@schouse.org, JN@schouse.org, DWN@schouse.org, HLO@schouse.org, PittsT@schouse.org, RFR@schouse.org, JGS@schouse.org, GMS@schouse.org, JS@schouse.org, WBW@schouse.org, ADY@schouse.org
Update, 4/24/09: The meeting this week in which the Ways and Means Committee was scheduled to address the Spending Accountability Act was canceled. A new meeting of the full Committee has not been announced, and Rep. Nikki Haley is calling the cancellation a “major setback.” The Committee may fail to review the bill before the House adjourns for the year.
Please, melt the phones and flood the Ways and Means Committee members with emails. Let them know that voters expect H.3047 to pass during the current session.