Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- Governor Nikki Haley is pushing a plan she says will improve ethics in our state. She and attorney General Alan Wilson crossed the state announcing the plan in Columbia, Charleston, Greenville, and Myrtle Beach.
The proposal includes requiring elected officials to disclose all income, and making rules for election filings the same for incumbents and challengers.
It asks for the Freedom of information Act to apply to all branches of the government equally.
Haley and Wilson also proposed getting rid of the House and Senate Ethics Committees and moving those responsibilities to the state ethics commission
"When it goes through the ethics commission, what you will see is you won't see any false accusations, you won't see any house members covering for house members you won't see anything that is political what you will see is that things are vetted and there are actually facts behind it," said Haley of the plan.
It would also make lawmakers recuse themselves from conflicts of interest in making appointments.
"When they go stand in front of a court in front of a judge, that they helped pick there is a problem because you are giving an advantage to a lawyer-legislator over anyone else and that has to stop," said Haley. "They need to know when to recuse themselves from committee all the way up until the floor."
House Speaker Bobby Harrell, Charleston County Republican, says Haley didn't notify or get input from lawmakers before announcing the ethics plan.
"The biggest driving force behind the need for ethics reform in our state was brought about by Governor Haley's own questionable actions. First and foremost, the unanswered ethical and legal issues raised by the Governor's past actions should serve as the starting template of any ethics reform effort," said Harrell in a news release. He noted that lawmakers from the House and Senate have been working on various issues related to making changes for a while now.
Haley says it doesn't matter where the changes come from.
"These are common sense no-brainer things that need to be done and anybody who has an idea, I don't think this should be a territorial things of who came up with the idea first or whose idea it is, if we are truly looking out for team South Carolina, if we get a combination of something we all celebrate," she said.
Sumter County Democrat Senator Phil Leventis, a member of the Senate House says Haley's plan is a distraction to improve Haley's record.
"I've found no more political governor than this governor because the things she's proposing, for example, full disclosure of income -- she didn't do it, recusing yourself from votes as a legislator that you may have some interest in -- she didn't do it," he said. "All these proposals are more show than they are substance, I mean each element of the governor's proposal are ones that she has abused as either the governor or a legislator and I believe what she's basically trying to do is say see my record is good because I'm making these proposals."
Many of the items in Haley's plan will at least require action from the general assembly.