Gov. Nikki Haley came away disappointed Tuesday after appealing to a state Senate committee on her signature campaign issue of requiring more roll call votes in the legislature.
That issue was at the heart of her come-from-behind campaign for governor last year. But the Senate Judiciary Committee tied the legislation to a constitutional amendment that is far from sure to pass the upper chamber, despite Haley plugging the roll call issue in person.
That means the law change for roll call voting would have to wait for two years until voters next decide whether to make changes to the constitution. And that's if the matter even sees the ballot since it would require a two-thirds vote in the Senate to get there. The House already has approved both measures.
Haley told the committee the measure was a chance to make South Carolinians feel good about their government. "And the way they see what you're doing right now is that you're putting off voting on the record until after you're re-elected. It's the truth, and it's the sad truth," Haley said. "They want to be able to hold you accountable prior to election day."
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But state Sen. Brad Hutto, an Orangeburg Democrat, reminded Haley that a Senate rule change already approved this year requires more roll call votes than the measure Haley backs.
Haley said that wasn't good enough. "Rules protect legislators," Haley said. "Laws protect people."
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Glenn McConnell argued the law change would create constitutional problems by opening the legislature's internal operations to court scrutiny.