As has been reported on another blog site, there is a move afoot in the South Carolina legislature to introduce a constitutional amendment that would require the governor to “to either sign or veto legislation that arrives on their desks.” Currently, the state constitution allows bills to pass if the governor takes no action on it within five business days.
As one of FITSNews commentors noted, the U.S. Constitution provides for the exact thing for the president under Article 1, Section 7:
If any Bill shall not be returned by the President within ten days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the same shall be a Law, in like manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their Adjournment prevent its return, in which case it shall not be a Law.
Compare that to Article IV, Section 21 of the South Carolina state constitution:
If a bill or joint resolution shall not be returned by the Governor within five days after it shall have been presented to him, Sundays excepted, it shall have the same force and effect as if he had signed it, unless the General Assembly, by adjournment, prevents return, in which case it shall have such force and effect unless returned within two days after the next meeting.
Virtually identical. This process is known as a pocket veto. Is it a good thing or a bad thing? Like all things political, it depends on which side of the veto you’re on.
In this case, however, playing with the constitution is a very bad thing.
In writing about this proposal, FITSNews used the Amazon tax incentive package as an example of the type of legislation that would be affected should this amendment be passed. In truth, that is the single reason for introducing the bill. However this is to be presented, it is all about one issue and nothing to do about constitutional reform.
According to my sources, State Rep Harry Ott (D-93) appears to be a key proponent of the legislation. However, the Democrats may be simply fronting for their like-minded Republican colleagues.
In fact, my sources tell me that the Democrats leaked word about this proposed legislation to FITSNews through the office of Republican Lieutenant Governor Ken Ard, more specifically, his chief of staff, Brant Branham
If this proposal moves at all through the House, it will be most interesting to watch State Rep. “Mac” Toole (R-88), in whose district the facility would be built, and House Majority Leader Rep. Kenny Bingham, (R-89) whose district, like Ott’s, borders the area.
Elected officials shouldn’t be criticised for trying to do the things needed to make their districts more prosperous. They are, in fact, put into office to represent the interests of their constituents. But to fiddle with the constitution in order to secure one particular bit of largesse is fundamentally wrong. And no executive, be (s)he governor or president, should be criticised for using the procedural tools provided by the constitution.
My personal preference is for the governor to make a decision and act accordingly. It appears she is sticking by her campaign promise to look after small business interests. That’s commendable. So, go on the record and veto contradicting legislation.
Personally, I believe the Amazon facility should be allowed to proceed as originally promised.
If the General Assembly truly wants to change the governor’s veto procedures, how about allowing for a line-item veto?