SC Senate Leader Sues Governor Haley Over Her Work Demand -

SC Senate Leader Sues Governor Haley Over Her Work Demand

By Associated Press

South Carolina's state Senate leader has filed a lawsuit against Republican Gov. Nikki Haley, saying she has no authority to call lawmakers back to work as she presses for legislation to get passed.

The legal challenge from Senate President Pro Tem Glenn McConnell of Charleston was filed Monday at the South Carolina Supreme Court.

At issue is whether the governor has the constitutional authority to call members of the GOP-controlled Legislature back when they're technically in recess.

Haley wants lawmakers to approve measures to restructure state government.

The Legislature recessed for a one-week break on Thursday, planning to return for a June 14 wrap-up session with a limited agenda. But Haley immediately issued an executive order saying lawmakers should return this week.

McConnell's lawsuit seeks a temporary injunction. 

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Senator Glenn McConnell released this statement Monday morning:

"I share Governor Haley's frustration that the General Assembly adjourned last week without addressing several important reform issues, including restructuring.  In fact, I support the passage of the Department of Administration, the Lieutenant Governor and Governor running on the same ticket, and the Governor appointing the Superintendent of Education bills she cited in her executive order, and I would also support the effort to add those items to the Senate's agenda when we return on June 14, 2011.

However, as presiding officer of the Senate, my job is to defend the South Carolina Constitution, to follow the rules of the Senate, and to uphold the law. Simply because the Governor and I want certain bills enacted does not give us the power to ignore the Constitution.

Therefore, I am today asking for emergency guidance by the South Carolina Supreme Court. The question we are asking is simple but important.  Can a governor force the legislature back into session to take up bills that were not included in the Sine Die resolution?

If the Governor does not have that authority, then the session she has ordered would be illegal, and the very reforms she wants passed would be in danger. That's why it is so important to seek legal clarity on the constitutional question. 

If the Supreme Court decides the Governor has the authority she asserts, I will be happy to comply and ask the Senate to return to session tomorrow.  If, on the other hand, the court rules she lacks the power she seeks, I hope the governor will withdraw her executive order.  All of us in public service have sworn to uphold the law.  We therefore await a ruling by the Supreme Court."


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