The Watch Log exists to bring truth to power. The original post here was developed from sources considered plausible. However, more legitimate information has been provided that cancels the conclusions originally presented.
The information comes from a “Memorandum of Law” to the Supreme Court from Senators Hugh Leatherman and Luke Rankin. In the letter, the senators appeal to the Court to hold the succession amendment to take effect beginning with the 2018 general election as stated in the 2012 ballot referendum.
The original article – retained here in whole – was incorrect and for that I apologize.
On January 18, the South Carolina Supreme Court will hear arguments on how the next Lt. Governor will be chosen. The issue has been raised as Governor Nikki Haley is about to leave, elevating Lt. Governor Henry McMaster to the governorship. At question is whether Governor McMaster can select his successor or if that position falls to the President Pro Tempore of the Senate.
In the 2012 election, South Carolinians were asked to vote on a Constitutional amendment that would change the way the Governor and Lieutenant Governor were elected. Rather than being elected separately, the two would run on a ticket as is done with President and Vice-President.
The referendum also addressed succession including this: “the Governor shall fill a vacancy in the Office of Lieutenant Governor by appointing a successor with the advice and consent of the Senate.” And that is the way the Constitution now reads.
But here’s the rub; in the 2012 general election, voters approved the amendment that included the stipulation “Beginning with the general election of 2018.” In the official explanation of the measure, voters were told that if the new law was approved, it would take effect “from 2018 onward.” [See the ballot measure below]
In other words, the voters approved the amendment starting in 2018, not before.
This should NOT be in question. This is important because it brings to question what other voter-approved ballot measures have been changed either by mistake or intentionally.
The South Carolina State Senate, under the iron rule of Sen. Hugh Leatherman (R-Florence), is attempting to defy the voters and break the law to preserve Leatherman’s position and avoid the chaos experienced when Sen. Yancey McGill (D-Kingstree) became Lt. Governor. Leatherman wants his hand puppet, McMaster, to choose someone malleable and subservient to preside over the Senate. As he said at a private fundraiser for then Lt. Governor candidate McMaster “The Lt. Governor decides who speaks on the Senate floor and we have to make sure our people get that privilege.”
Beginning with the general election of 2018, must Section 8 of Article IV of the Constitution of this State be amended to provide that the Lieutenant Governor must be elected jointly with the Governor in a manner prescribed by law; and upon the joint election to add Section 37 to Article III of the Constitution of this State to provide that the Senate shall elect from among the members thereof a President to preside over the Senate and to perform other duties as provided by law; to delete Sections 9 and 10 of Article IV of the Constitution of this State containing inconsistent provisions providing that the Lieutenant Governor is President of the Senate, ex officio, and while presiding in the Senate, has no vote, unless the Senate is equally divided; to amend Section 11 to provide that the Governor shall fill a vacancy in the Office of Lieutenant Governor by appointing a successor with the advice and consent of the Senate; and to amend Section 12 of Article IV of the Constitution of this State to conform appropriate references?
A ‘Yes’ vote will require, from 2018 onward, the Governor and Lieutenant Governor to run on the same ticket and be elected to office jointly. As a result, the Lieutenant Governor will no longer preside over the Senate and the Senate will elect their presiding officer from within the Senate body.
A ‘No’ vote maintains the current method of electing the Governor and Lieutenant Governor separately. The Lieutenant Governor shall continue to serve as President of the Senate.