2011-03-11 / Columns

Senate should also get serious about government restructuring

The South Carolina House of Representatives advanced three reform measures that would strengthen the governor’s authority and the Cabinet system in significant ways. The Senate should get serious about government restructuring this session, as well.

The House overwhelmingly adopted a proposal to allow the governor and lieutenant governor to run on a partisan ticket, as do presidential and vice presidential candidates at the national level. It would ensure that the two candidates are committed to the same program when they stand for election. Doing so would ensure an uncomplicated transition of power if the governor has to leave office.

And the House approved a proposal to allow the governor to appoint the state superintendent of education, assuming the voters endorse a constitutional amendment to that effect. It would ensure that the state’s chief executive could set the vitally important education agenda, and name his appointee to carry it out. ...

The Legislature should endorse similar proposals for other constitutional officers, including the secretary of agriculture and the adjutant general. And voters should be given the chance to decide whether the obsolete secretary of state’s office should be simply eliminated, and his duties assumed elsewhere, probably by the Department of Revenue.

The governor should be able to set agricultural policy in the state, just as she directs economic development through her appointee over the state Commerce Department. South Carolina is the only state in the nation that continues to elect its adjutant general, who oversees the S.C. National Guard and emergency management.

The House also supported the creation of a Department of Administration to assume a variety of duties now carried out by the Budget and Control Board. Those would include information technology, purchasing, fleet management and property oversight. ...

Similar proposals have been endorsed by the House in previous years, only to die in the Senate.

This year, the Senate leadership should press for reform measures that will streamline state government, make it more accountable and save taxpayer money. The (Charleston) Post and Courier

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