Columbia, SC (WLTX) - This year Gubernatorial candidates get to pick their Lieutenant Governor candidates to run on the same ticket.
Voters approved the amendment six years ago. However, lawmakers are still setting the rules for the joint ticket. The change was expected to go into effect for the 2018 election.
However, a bill laying out the rules for the change is stuck in a conference committee.
"We are really facing the possibility of the Election Commission not being able to, they don't know how to let people file for Lt. Governor," says Senator Shane Massey, R-Edgefield.
Senators Massey and Chip Campsen spoke out about the deadlock explaining that the house version of the bill asks for pay increases for all congressional officers.
"The bill has been hijacked by a bunch of people who want pay raises and they've tacked it onto the bill," says Sen. Massey. "You've got some of us who say let's just make this about the Lt. Governor and let's make sure we can have an election this year in compliance with what the voters have asked us to do and we're having trouble with that right now."
"That is wholly and utterly inexcusable, to hijack the people's will in amending their constitution to give themselves a pay raise," says Sen. Campsen, R-Charleston
House members say they are sticking with their version of the bill.
"What they want to do is set the salary of the Lt. Governor, who is a constitutional officer, but they don't want to set the salary of other individuals and they all have to be fed out of the same spoon," says Representative G. Murrell Smith, R-Sumter. "That is what the House put on the floor and voted unanimously and we have to carry, as conference members, the House's position to the conference committee."
The bill also lays out new roles of the Lt. Governor.
"The Senate would like that to change significantly and no longer preside over the Senate and they will have different responsibilities," says Rep. James Smith, D-Richland.
As for the Election Commission, deadlines are approaching and if changes are made, their system has to be updated.
"We have to update procedures, but we also have to change our candidate filing system," says Chris Whitmire with the South Carolina Election Commission. "So, to do that, ideally we would want three months."
Filing for candidates in the 2018 election begins at noon on March 16th.