SC Senate Could Name President Pro Tem

Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- State Senators could name a new Senate President Pro Tempore this week.

The move comes after John Courson stepped down from the position on June 4.

Senator Yancey McGill (D-Williambsurg) tells News19's Jennifer Bellamy that he will accept the President Pro Tem position if he is nominated. Lt. Governor Glenn McConnell tells News19 that he intends to resign as soon as a new President Pro Tem is named, which would then move McGill to become Lt. Governor. The state constitution calls for the Senate Pro Tem to become Lt. Governor if that position becomes open.

An effort to begin the elections passed the Senate on a 23-22 vote Tuesday afternoon, but senators quickly voted to adjourn for the day. They will return Wednesday when the election is expected to be brought up again.

Edgefield County Sen. Shane Massey said other Republican senators expressed interest in the Lt. Governor position and he wanted to give them time to think the decision over.

"I'm a Republican, and we've got the possibility of electing a Republican as the next Lt. Governor. He just asked to have the opportunity to think about it, talk with his family and friends overnight and I'm gonna try and honor that request if I can," said Massey, who made several motions to delay the election.

"It is a deliberative body. We have never just pushed something through, that doesn't happen that way, and the decisions that were made here today, I anticipated most of it because it's always been that the day you come in you have different factions," said McGill.

Senator Courson stepped down as Senate Pro Tem after Lt. Governor McConnell announced he intended to resign in order to begin working as the president at the College of Charleston. McConnell then held off his resignation, saying he did not want to create a constitutional crisis.

Some lawmakers question if the delay is really about who will serve as Senate President Pro Tem after a new Lt. Governor is selected. Republican Senators Hugh Letherman, Larry Martin and John Courson are the names currently being floated around the state house. That election could come after a new Lt. Governor is in place.

"We'll see what the Lord provides for tomorrow, but we feel good. We've talked to a lot of these members after this vote, and they're saying tomorrow they want to proceed towards electing a Pro Tem, so we'll see," said McGill.

Previous Coverage: Courson Resigns as Senate Pro Tem, Senator: Lt. Gov to Stay on the Job a Little Longer

Voters will decide on the state's next Lt. Governor in the November election.


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