The General Assembly returned to Columbia this week for the second half of our two-year term. Amid a typically slow first week on the floor, we made significant progress on a notable Republican Caucus agenda item.
After more than a decade of effort by the House Republican majority, our state is once again on the verge of the biggest streamlining of state government in nearly three decades. We have approved this legislation five times in the past seven years, and other versions of it have been in the legislative pipeline since 2000.
A House-Senate Conference Committee signed off on a “Department of Administration” bill this week that moves the vast majority of the administrative functions of state government – human resources, information technology, state vehicles, and “general services” – under the control of the Governor for the first time.
The bill also effectively eliminates the old Budget and Control Board – a quasi-legislative/executive agency that controlled much of state government.
The House leadership under two Speakers, four House Majority Leaders has worked with Governors Sanford and Haley to make this legislation a reality.
Other notable highlights of the compromise legislation:
We came this close two years ago, but a last-second Senate filibuster killed the Department of Administration bill. We’re at this point again.
This bill joins two other major pieces of government reform legislation pending in the state Senate that would give state voters the option of letting the Governor appoint the Adjutant General and the Superintendent of Education. The House approved both of those bills last year.
Much of the week was reserved for the House Ways and Means subcommittees to begin work on writing the 2014-2015 state budget. January is always a busy time for the House members on that committee as they work on crafting the balanced budget that we have approved every year since voters gave Republicans control of the State House in 1994.
It is an honor and a privilege to serve you in Columbia again this year. If you need help navigating state government, or have any thoughts or concerns about what we are doing, please do not hesitate to contact me.