S.C. House Passes One Excellent Reform
. . . AND KILLS A TERRIBLE ONE
During the first day of organizational session on December 2, the House voted on and approved a package of 15 rule changes presented by the Ad Hoc Committee on House Rules and Procedures. A proposed rule change that would have required all citizens testifying before the General Assembly to do so under oath – an obvious attempt to intimidate citizens and exceeded the power given the legislature under the law – was notably absent from the final rules package presented to the House. The proposal (sponsored by Rep. Kris Crawford, R-Florence) was evidently removed from the final package following a polling of members of the Ad Hoc Committee.
The package also included a rule requiring committees to record all votes when the question is passage of a bill or resolution. Citizen activist Don Rogers has been advocating for this reform for several years.
Other rules in the package included:
- The creation of new committees on legislative oversight and regulations and administrative procedures.
- A ban on leadership PACs.
- Requiring all bills be explained for at least ten minutes or until all questions are answered prior to receiving second reading.
- Limiting the House Speaker and Speaker Pro Tempore to five consecutive terms. (NB: Former Speaker Bobby Harrell was serving his fifth term when indicted.)
- Requiring budgetary bills returned from the senate not be considered until their contents have been available online publicly for 48 hours, and requiring budgetary bills returned from conference committee not be considered until they have been publicly available online for 24 hours.
- Requiring the Speaker recommit to committee any bill returning from the Senate that has been amended in such a way that its content is no longer germane to the original bill.
All of the rules described above as well, as others that didn’t make the cut into the final package, are discussed in more detail here.