Davis: Record More Votes, Abolish BCB

November 3, 2010

Investigative Reports

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The NerveBy Tom Hatfield
Citizen Reporter

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, Citizen Reporter Tom Hatfield interviews Sen. Tom Davis, R-Beaufort:

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.

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 among the legislative, executive and judicial branches of S.C. state government?
A: No.

Q: How would you propose changing the current system?
A: Abolish the Budget and Control Board, bring more state agencies within the governor’s cabinet, limit the Legislature’s role in executive branch appointments to “advise and consent,” have judges appointed by the governor and subjected to confirmation proceedings in the Senate.

Q: Given that we are one of only two states that determines committee chairman and committee assignments simply based on how long someone has been in the Senate, would you support a rules change in the Senate to reform the seniority system?
A: Yes.

Q: For the past two years the General Assembly has only recorded 25 percent of votes they took. Do you believe a statute requiring more recorded votes is unconstitutional?
A: No, I believe it would be constitutional and have submitted a legal brief in that regard to Senate Judiciary.

Q: Would you support a Constitutional amendment requiring recorded votes?
A: Yes.