Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Haley, Sheheen want credit for new government restructuring plan

DOA alive and passed

Posted by Corey Hutchins on Wed, Jan 22, 2014 at 3:10 PM

State Sen. Vincent Sheheen and Gov. Nikki Haley have both been pushing government restructuring - SAM SPENCE FILE PHOTO, FLICKR USER CAROLINASTARX
  • Sam Spence file photo, Flickr user carolinastarx
  • State Sen. Vincent Sheheen and Gov. Nikki Haley have both been pushing government restructuring

The way South Carolina carries out its day-to-day administration of government will change significantly for the first time in two decades because of a bill lawmakers passed yesterday. As it heads to the desk of Republican Gov. Nikki Haley, both she and her likely Democratic rival Vincent Sheheen are claiming credit.

Here's what the new law does, according to the Associated Press:

The bill breaks apart the much-maligned-but-little-understood Budget and Control Board and divides its various responsibilities – which range from economic forecasts to janitorial services – among new and already existing agencies. Job losses are not expected. Most workers would transfer to the new, Cabinet-level Department of Administration, giving the governor’s office responsibility of bureaucratic functions of government, such as human resources and property and fleet management.
There had been some drama yesterday as the measure hit a roadblock. One senator wasn't sure if it was real reform, and he wanted to know where Haley stood on it. Like her predecessor Mark Sanford, Haley has made streamlining and restructuring government a priority. She had this to say on Facebook when the bill eventually passed:

"Carroll Campbell is smiling today as the House and Senate passed the biggest piece of government reform since he was governor almost 20 years ago. South Carolina is showing the world that we are no longer in the dark ages!"

The bill was based on legislation Sheheen had been pushing as the state senator from Kershaw County for 10 years.

“For nearly a decade, we’ve worked across the aisle to build a bipartisan coalition around my bill to overhaul state government and increase accountability. Today, South Carolinians have results,” he said in a statement. “South Carolinians have had to wait long enough for the accountability they deserve from Governor Haley and her administration. I urge the Governor to sign my bill immediately.”

In recent years, the DOA bill has caused headaches for Haley and lawmakers, and at one point it wound up in some high-profile legal wrangling. Then-GOP Senate President Pro Tem Glenn McConnell sued Haley in 2011 when she tried to bring lawmakers back for a special legislative session to vote on the bill, and the state Supreme Court sided with him. In 2012, tea party leaders from around the state gathered in front of Haley’s Statehouse office and raked her over the coals for not completely obliterating the state Budget and Control Board as they’d been hoping she would. They likened the bill to reform in name only.

Since its passage, at least one observer whose been in the fight for decades seems happy. That's Cindi Scoppe, associate editor and editorial writer for The State newspaper who in 2011 won a Governing magazine award for public service journalism based in part on being a “dogged advocate for the restructuring of government.”

Yesteday, Scoppe Tweeted this:

“Is DOA bill as much as I want? No. Is it a huge step forward? Yes. Have critics been working for it for 20+ years, like I have? No”

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