Legislative Session Ends, Ethics and Nullification Fail

11:55 PM, Jun 6, 2013   |    comments
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Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- The 2013 legislative year  first at the State House came to an end Thursday.

Lawmakers have cleared legislation that addresses charity groups holding raffles. They also finished work on a bill aimed at fixing the problem that kicked candidates off ballots across the state last year.

The bill that could create a Department of Administration has gone to a conference committee of members from both houses to work out a compromise version of the legislation as well.

"The House was very successful. Unfortunately the Senate, which is usually the case, held up a lot of the bills that we want," said Lexington County Republican Rep. Rick Quinn. "We've had a pretty good year so far."

Democrats tend to disagree.

"I think that we haven't done the people justice this particular term with the issues that are out there, ignoring the voice of folks that are really hurting," said Florence County Rep. Terry Alexander. "We're looking out for the few instead of the state as a whole."

Lawmakers are expected return after a week off for a special session.

They could address budget vetoes from the governor and some pieces of legislation that have cleared both house but still need compromises.

Ethics, a big topic on the agenda of state leaders failed to survive this year.

The House cleared it version of a bill in early May, but the senate could not come to an agreement.

Some senators say the issue of ethics had become too politicized and they are pointing the finger at Governor Haley.

"She politicized this and held up Senator Robert Ford's hearing and the Senate Ethics Committee's work as a reason that we needed ethics reform. She'll recognize that that backfired on her. That made folks even more offended and called attention to what really was the push here, more of a political check off, that look what I have accomplished versus working with folks to get out of it what should have been done," said Horry County Republican Sen. Luke Rankin who chairs the Senate Ethics Committee.

Governor Nikki Haley's office responded to those claims saying she is the latest on the list of who to blame the failure of ethics reform on.

The office says the decision to kill the bill rests with senators and only hurts the public.

Lawmakers says they will work to address ethics in the second year of hte session.

Another bill that failed this week is what is being called to the Nullification Bill. It would prevent state agencies from enforcing the Affordable Care Act in South Carolina.

Senators adjourned debate on the bill Wednesday.

Opponents argue the bill is a waste of time that could lead South Carolina to a lawsuit if passed.

"To think that we can just pass a state law to nullify federal law, it's just not gonna work and it brings so many consequences. It brings us enormous liability and quite honestly in my opinion a big waste of time," said Richland County Sen. Joel Lourie.

Senator Lee Bright says people do not want to fund something they feel is wrong.

"They don't wanna see state resources to enforce a law that they feel is unconstitutional. It's something that the Supreme Court you know has ruled in the past and revered its rulings," said Republican Sen. Lee Bright of Spartanburg County.

Senator Bright says the bill is set to be taken up when lawmakers return next year.

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