January 13, 2011

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The S.C. House Republicans passed the first item on their 2011-2012 agenda Thursday when the House approved a statute requiring more roll call votes in the General Assembly.

The bill, originally authored by now-Governor Nikki Haley, was re-submitted by Rep. Nathan Ballentine, R-Irmo , during the pre-filing period back in December.

“I’m pleased to see my colleagues take swift action this session in an effort to hold the General Assembly more accountable to the people of our state,” said Rep. Ballentine. “If legislation is important enough to be debated in our chambers, it’s important for everyone to know how their elected official voted, or if he/she did not vote at all. It’s my hope the Senate and House can resolve any differences they may have and move this legislation forward to become law in the coming weeks.”

The legislation, H. 3004 and titled the “Spending Accountability Act of 2011” amends state law to require roll call votes in both the House and Senate for each section of the General Appropriations Bill, and any bill when:

• the question is adoption of a Conference or Free Conference Report;
• the question is passage of a bill or joint resolution on second reading;
• either the House or the Senate agrees to the other body’s amendment; or
• a bill or joint resolution is amended and the question is passage of a bill on third reading.

“This is a simple, yet critical reform that voters told us was extremely important to them last November,” said House Majority Leader Kenny Bingham, R-Cayce. “The House passed this last year, but it never became law. I look forward to both quick approval by the Senate and the signature of our new governor.”

House Speaker Bobby Harrell, R-Charleston, added: “By Rule, this increased level of transparency in Roll Call Voting has been in effect in the House since its adoption in 2009. But because of the importance of this issue, House Members today took a major step in making this added accountability tool a state law that will result in more on-the-record votes in both legislative bodies.”

After a routine third reading on Friday, the roll call voting bill will go to the Senate next week.