COLUMBIA,, SC (WSPA) – The House OK’d a bill Wednesday afternoon that would reform the University of South Carolina’s Board of Trustees.
The bill was introduced by House Speaker Jay Lucas (R-Darlington) and others Tuesday. It was put on the calendar immediately to be taken up Wednesday.
Recent efforts to make changes to the board stalled in 2019. Discussion about the board were reignited after a panel of lawmakers grilled members of the board up for reelection about the process to elect former President Bob Caslen and buyouts paid to two fired coaches.
The panel decided not to approve the five board members for reelection.
At one point Speaker Lucas asked a trustee, “If the board is as dysfunctional as you say it is, why in the world would we reelect any of the current members back to their current seats?”
The legislation approved Wednesday would cut the number of voting members on the board from 20 to 13. It would also remove all current trustees at the end of June 2023.
State lawmakers would elect 7 trustees from the state’s 7 Congressional districts. Currently, the legislators elect 16 trustees from the state’s 16 Judicial districts.
The Governor would have two appointees to the board as well and four at-large members would be elected as well.
Rep. Murrell Smith (R-Sumter) said “the four at-large member must reside in a county where there is a branch campus.”
“There are seven regional campuses in the state and we want to make sure those regional campuses are represented,” said Smith.
The House voted 113-1 to give the bill second reading. It will get third reading Thursday and be sent to the Senate ahead of the crossover deadline.