Cure lawmakers' cowardice

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About the only way to find out how South Carolina legislators vote on a particular issue, apparently, is to sit beside them.

For people who don't have that kind of time on their hands, 41 U.S. states require their legislatures to have recorded votes in at least one legislative chamber. Four other states, including Georgia, require recorded votes on revenue bills.

But in South Carolina and just four other states - all in New England - lawmakers are not required to vote on the record when passing bills. In the Palmetto State, lawmakers usually vote by voice. No record, no transparency - just an "aye" or "nay."

It should be blindingly obvious: Citizens who elect leaders to represent them should know how those leaders vote in shaping public policy.

The people want to know how Senator Smith or Representative Jones voted on a spending bill or anti-crime legislation. The people need to know.

But that cornerstone of public accountability is pitifully lacking in the South Carolina Legislature.

Why are South Carolinians robbed of something so basic - to know how their elected state officials vote? No reason is good enough.

State Rep. Nikki Haley, R-Lexington, has been pushing H. 3047, the Spending Accountability Act, which would require that all South Carolina legislative votes be on the record. You won't find many other bills this session that are more commonsense and straightforward.

A subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee convenes today in Room 521 of the Blatt Building in Columbia at 2:30 p.m. The first item on the agenda is hearing H. 3047. It must pass this committee if it is to advance to a full House vote for approval.

South Carolinians should not be further deprived of accountability and transparency from their legislators. This bill must pass.

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patriciathomas
43
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patriciathomas 04/21/09 - 03:59 am
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This article is spot on. The

This article is spot on. The secret ballot of the S.C. congress is stupid. Improvement in the state will continue to be stifled as long as no one is held accountable for their action.

justus4
120
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justus4 04/21/09 - 04:51 am
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Ha! Ha! Best country in the
Unpublished

Ha! Ha! Best country in the world, eh? Of course the average citizen can't determine how they vote, because the citizens must be kept ignorant. How old is the state? How long has it been this way? It's called transparency and our new president is demonstrating the benefit of it, but states are not getting the message. The people are slowly catching on and this article proves it.

I4PUTT
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I4PUTT 04/21/09 - 06:37 am
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Wish I had no accountability

Wish I had no accountability at my office. I'm thinking my golf game might be better.

aclemons
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aclemons 04/21/09 - 10:27 am
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The assertion of this

The assertion of this editorial is partially wrong. Most votes of the SC Senate are now recorded. http://www.thestate.com/local/story/649686.html

toldya
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toldya 04/21/09 - 01:40 pm
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Leave it to SC to be one of

Leave it to SC to be one of the last ones to get on board with accountability- no surpirse- look who is at the helm- the kingof slow- sanford.

patriciathomas
43
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patriciathomas 04/21/09 - 03:06 pm
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Bad call toldya, Sanford has

Bad call toldya, Sanford has been pushing for accountability since he got into office.

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