As part of an effort to assess legislators’ views on the length of session, balance of power and roll call voting, citizen reporters from The Nerve are posing questions to lawmakers from around South Carolina. In the following interview, Citizen Reporter Jan Williams interviews Rep. Bruce Bannister, R-Greenville:
Q: South Carolina’s legislative session is the longest in the Southeast and the longest in the United States, among part-time legislatures. Would you support shortening the legislative session to no more than 45 legislative days?
A: Yes, I would support shortening the legislative session.
Q: Because so much power is concentrated in the legislative branch, the leadership is therefore powerful through appointments to 250-plus executive branch boards and commissions. The Speaker of the House and the Senate President Pro Tempore, alone, make more than 120 appointments to executive branch functions. Do you believe there is an equal balance of power between the legislative, executive and judicial branches of SC state government?
Q: How would you propose changing the current system?
A: I believe we should strengthen the executive branch and create a dedicated funding source for the Judiciary.
Q: Given that many of the legislative reforms citizens have asked for have not been implemented yet, would you support a change in leadership?
Q: Would you let your constituents know who you will support before the actual vote for Speaker?
Q: For the past two years the General Assembly has only recorded 25 percent of votes they took. How would you propose improving the voting record in the House?
A: I supported a rule change and the bill requiring roll call votes.
Q: Would you support a Constitutional amendment requiring recorded votes?