SC Lawmakers Could Limit Future Speakers’ Power

REFORMERS SEE OPENING IN WAKE OF SCANDAL … Future Speakers of the South Carolina House of Representatives could see their power curtailed if a bipartisan group of state lawmakers is successful in advancing a series of internal reforms. According to Andy Brack of The Statehouse Report , “a bipartisan group of…


Future Speakers of the South Carolina House of Representatives could see their power curtailed if a bipartisan group of state lawmakers is successful in advancing a series of internal reforms.

According to Andy Brack of The Statehouse Report , “a bipartisan group of House members wants to change its chamber’s rules to reshape how members wield power.”

Brack quotes S.C. Reps. Rick Quinn, James Smith and Jenny Horne as having a hand in the effort to change the rules – which would presumably be adopted at an organizational session held after the November elections.

“There’s too much power in one person,” Horne told Brack.

We agree …

The nascent reform effort – which is also said to include Reps. Eric Bedingfield, Beth Bernstein and Gary Simrill – is a direct result of this week’s indictment of powerful S.C. Speaker of the House Bobby Harrell on corruption charges.  Harrell has suspended himself from office, and his political future is uncertain.

In fact the race to replace him is already afoot … with several of the candidates for the post embracing the push for internal reform.

At the top of the list of reforms mentioned in Brack’s report is term limits for legislative leadership positions.  This website has consistently supported term limits for elected offices, but we haven’t been as aggressive in pushing term limits for leadership posts within the legislature.

That’s a mistake on our part.

Wait … what? 

Yeah, you read that right: We were wrong.  Term-limiting elected officials isn’t the best way to eliminate corruption – it’s much smarter to limit the amount of time individual lawmakers are allowed to serve in leadership positions.  For starters, we’d recommend no one serve as Speaker – or as a committee chairman – for more than four years at a time.

Other reforms envisioned by this group of legislators?  Splitting the House’s powerful ways and means committee in two (one committee to draft the budget, another to address tax policy), permitting committees (rather than the Speaker’s office) to make hiring decisions, eliminating political action committees affiliated with legislative leaders (a.k.a. “Leadership PACs” like the one that got Harrell into trouble) and creating “procedural transparency” regarding certain pieces of legislation that are snuck onto the House calendar (another area where Harrell has been a naughty boy).

Interestingly, a source close to Harrell told FITS that the current Speaker – whose scandal has been the impetus for the proposed changes – actually supports the vast majority of the ideas being floated.

“We haven’t seen all the details but a lot of these reforms he’s already on board with and when he’s cleared his name he’ll be leading the fight to implement them,” the source said.

Anyway, to read more on the proposed reforms check out Brack’s website … 

Related posts


South Carolina Islanders Brace For Luxury ‘EcoTourism’ Development

Callie Lyons

Pastor John-Paul Miller’s Personality Test: Mining for Clues

Callie Lyons

Follow-Up File: S.C. Beach Patrol Tragedy

Will Folks


well-i-am into it September 12, 2014 at 4:07 pm

I also think we need mechanisms to monitor high priority “streams of power” where the Speaker’s power extends to. For example, the $25 million/year subsidy to post and courier makes P&C dance to the speaker’s tunes and will be the same regardless of who the speaker is. Probably it will make post and courier more servile if speaker term limits are enforced, as they will have many masters. Such “streams of power” should be checked by instructing the money to be used ONLY for salaries of reporters (and the reporters names supported by the salary made public). So public can then read these reporters’ articles and judge if they are serving the system and corruption or if they are truly serving people’s interests and exposing corruption to benefit our state. The 4th estate is on sale right now.

Just an old man’s fragmented thought, perhaps, but makes sense to me.

Bible Thumper September 12, 2014 at 6:15 pm

Please explain the $25 million/year subsidy to the Post and Courier.

Corruption Busters September 13, 2014 at 12:53 am

Please tell us where we can find the evidence of subsidies to the Post and Courier. We want to bust that news outlet.

Manray September 12, 2014 at 4:15 pm

I will believe this when it happens.

Bible Thumper September 12, 2014 at 4:54 pm

It’s an amazing coincidence. Harrell supports reform and I just saw a pig fly.

mark September 13, 2014 at 8:49 am

the concentration of power in the SENATE is the problem in this State, not the house.

Nemo September 14, 2014 at 7:15 am

Anything Quinn & Horne support must be self-serving and a bad idea. This is all bullshit designed for PR spin. Andy Brack will publish anything.

Vote Haley out September 12, 2014 at 4:46 pm

Congressman Mark Sanford calls off engagement on Facebook

More like Jenny’s lawyers are threatening to clean his clock is like it. From Haley to Sanford this state is a joke,


In lengthy post to Facebook, Congressman Mark Sanford said he is calling off his engagement to Maria Belen Chapur.

“No relationship can stand forever this tension of being forced to
pick between the one you love and your own son or daughter, and for this
reason Belen and I have decided to call off the engagement,” Sanford
said. “Maybe there will be another chapter when waters calm with Jenny,
but at this point the environment is not conducive to building anything
given no one would want to be caught in the middle of what’s now

Sanford said Belen is a remarkably wonderful woman who he’s always loved.

“… I will be forever grateful for not only the many years we have
known and loved each other, but the last six very tough ones wherein she
has encouraged me and silently borne its tribulations with her ever
warm and kind spirit,” Sanford said.

Sanford cites the ongoing turmoil with his ex-wife Jenny Sanford as why he called off the engagement.

Sanford has said he has done everything he can to be both a good father and former husband since the couple divorced in 2010.

Sanford said he has tried to avoid responding publicly to issues
stemming from the divorce but must address them when they suggest he is
an inadequate father or congressman.

He said anyone who knows him knows the accusations are false.

“I cannot do this anymore,” Sanford said. “In all life there comes a
point wherein lines must be drawn in the way that we attempt to respond
in ways that don’t invite more in the way of conflict and add more in
the way of modeling Christ’s humility in giving in every instance. I’ll
never get that mix right, none of us do, but I believe it’s what we are
to pursue in all of our responses to the inevitable reality of conflict
in our lives.”

CNSYD September 12, 2014 at 5:04 pm

We just thought Sanfraud thought he was King David. We were wrong. He thinks of himself much higher than that.

ThreePalms September 12, 2014 at 5:11 pm

Don’t worry, Mark. Everyone knows you are an inadequate congressman.

Sailor September 12, 2014 at 5:26 pm

This is off topic, but has Sic missed the latest Sanford news? Engagement if off!
Check his Facebook page or Huffpo.

Palmetto 411 September 12, 2014 at 5:47 pm

This is the time to propose a common-sense reform agenda.

*Term Limits for all legislators and constitutional officers.

*Income Disclosure (For legislators and spouses).

*Restrict gifts from colleges and universities for sport/special events. End sweetheart deal on sport tickets and require legislators and legislative staff to pay all fees and to go through all normal processes required of all other ticket buyers. No special privileges.

Shorten the legislative session by one to two months.

Reform the budget process and have a joint budget committee in order to streamline the process.

Cathy Harrell 4 House September 12, 2014 at 7:12 pm

You’re right Will. They *could* but they *won’t*

nitrat September 12, 2014 at 7:50 pm

Sounds good. But, not having powerful committee chairs has not worked out real well in the Congress. It’s upended the way that bills have been proposed and passed for a couple of hundred years and put all power in the so-called ‘leadership’.

nitrat September 12, 2014 at 7:53 pm

can’t edit…

But, our situation is different. We have pretty much that situation now.

dm10ae September 13, 2014 at 12:46 am

Term limits sound good- no retirement benefit, or retirement calculated on income only and not use per diem. Per diem paid for actual payouts using rules and receipts like all other state employees. Limit power to all legislators, like Leatherman too.

Make Use Of This Opportunity September 13, 2014 at 12:50 am

The citizens of South Carolina should be electing their judges, not a corrupt and out of control body of lawmakers.

Make Use Of This Opportunity September 13, 2014 at 12:59 am

“Cathy Harrell has said extremely derogatory statements about the defendant (Chris Latham) and has stated such things to third parties,” according to court documents filed by Chris Latham’s attorney. “Cathy Harrell further testified that Bobby Harrell ‘gave an earful’ to clients of the defendant.”


While Its All Out In The Open September 14, 2014 at 12:00 am

This is the right time for the citizens of South Carolina to demand a “voter recall” law. They obviously want it. The citizens also want to elect their own judges to the bench. Out of all the other states in the nation, there are only two states that DO NOT allow the voters to decide who their judges will be.
If ANY legislature is against the above, it is a clear indicator that they are CORRUPT like Bobby Harrell.

Tom September 14, 2014 at 12:27 am

Nothing will help except getting big money out of politics. After Citizens United everyone is coming up with innovative ways to bribe politicians.

We need change September 15, 2014 at 8:35 pm


EREY September 14, 2014 at 11:35 am

Don’t be fooled by anything Quinn the fat Lexington (Richland) carpetbagger does in the name of reform. He is ONLY interested in his own self-interest and you can bet there’s something in it that will result in more business for his company. Lexington voters, PLEASE find someone to run against this scum next time!

WW September 15, 2014 at 8:33 pm

“Lawmakers could limit future speakers power.:”
“Could” should ne vhanged to SHOULD!


Leave a Comment