Do you know how your state senator votes 89 percent of the time? Of course you don't - because, of the 610 votes taken this year, only 68 were recorded, according to the S.C. Policy Council. The rest were voice votes with no record kept of how your state senator voted to spend your tax money.
Why is this a problem? Here are two examples:
1. In 2007 the Senate voted off the record for retirement perks for state legislators. It passed overwhelmingly but to this day you cannot find a legislator who voted him/herself a pay raise.
2. And only a month ago, a $10 million incentives package for a Bass Pro Shops passed by a voice vote. But when it came up for a second reading on the record, it failed.
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Nikki Haley, representative for Lexington County, has led the fight in the state House for on-the-record voting. Finally, after two years of courageous fighting for government transparency and accountability, the House agreed to a recorded voting provision for S.C. legislators. But this voting provision is now languishing in a Senate committee and Senate leadership refuses to bring it to the floor for a vote.
Glenn McConnell, senator from Charleston, is responsible for attempting to kill this bill in committee. He argues that this provision for voting on the record is "unconstitutional." What is he hiding? Why doesn't he want taxpayers to know how he voted to spend their money? How can we continue to re-elect people who hide their voting records from taxpayers 89 percent of the time?
What can S.C. taxpayers do to stop this off-the-record voting?
1. Call, e-mail, fax and write to Glenn McConnell and the senator from your district. Tell them to bring the recorded voting provision to the floor this year for an on-the-record vote. Contact information for SC state senators is available at www.sc.gov.
2. Support Nikki Haley - reach her at www.nikkihaley.com. She's running for governor in the Republican primary on June 8. She's a conservative leader and proven reformer.
Off-the-record voting must stop. Nikki Haley will put an end to good old boy, business as usual politics in Columbia.
The writer lives in North Myrtle Beach.