Reading is fundamental. Listening, too.
By PHILLIP CEASE
It shouldn’t be too much to ask that legislators know what they’re approving
Last week the House of Representatives adopted, with no objections, a resolution congratulating Governor Henry McMaster on his ascension to the office — and encouraging him to expand Medicaid in South Carolina. This was unexpected, because the House, at least on paper, has been against expanding Medicaid.
Clearly, no one other than the House member that introduced it and perhaps a few of the cosponsors had even glanced at the resolution.
In the summary — which was read aloud in the chamber — it says in the first sentence “… and to encourage Governor McMaster to expand Medicaid …” In the body, McMaster isn’t even congratulated until the end of the 870-plus-word document.
Much like the Constitutional snafu with the line of succession for the lieutenant governor that was caused by the legislature’s failure to read a bill, the House ended up stating something last week that it didn’t believe because lawmakers weren’t paying attention.
We’re not saying they ought to pore over each of these kinds of resolutions, which don’t have the force of law. But in instances such as this, when it should have been clear quickly that the measure had more weight than, say, a resolution to congratulate a senate staffer on a hole-in-one, they could at least tune in.
The next day, the House introduced a resolution to repeal H. 3678, saying that it was “improvidently adopted.” Speaker Lucas took responsibility, saying, “The resolution actually has some substantive portions in it that I did not announce to the body.” He was being too kind.
When you go to the trouble of campaigning and getting elected to go to the Statehouse to represent the people, the people expect, in return, not that you will necessarily be another Daniel Webster but that you will at least sometimes follow along.