Kelso wants sun to shine on all votes by state legislators

Contact: Jill Kelso (843) 543-0180

MURRELLS INLET- Republican State House candidate Jill Kelso announced Thursday that if elected, she will introduce legislation requiring recorded roll call votes on all bills considered in Columbia.

"It's time to let the sunshine on everything that happens in the Legislature," Kelso insisted. "Citizens not only deserve to know how their representatives stand on the issues, but how they actually vote on those issues."

Kelso's announcement was in response to a study this week reporting that the Legislature rarely records the actual votes of individual lawmakers.

Currently, roll call votes are required only on elections by the General Assembly, such as for judges, consideration of the Governor's vetoes, contested Supreme Court elections, the removal of officers, and amendments to the state Constitution.

"The current system allows legislators to hide behind non-recorded voice votes on almost all legislation considered by the General Assembly," Kelso said. "That is simply not in the public's best interest. Making members of the legislature have to record their votes will provide the openness and accountability in Columbia the citizens of Georgetown County and this state deserve, and just makes common sense," she concluded.

This week the South Carolina Policy Council released a study that showed in 2008 roll call votes were held on general bills or joint resolutions in the state Senate and House only one percent and eight percent of the time respectively, and that the average for the General Assembly was five percent.

The study looked at state legislatures in the southeast and found that Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana and Mississippi mandate roll call votes on final passage of all bills; Tennessee requires roll call voting on every bill including bills making appropriations of public dollars; and North Carolina mandates roll call votes on second and third reading of revenue bills.

A bill was introduced in the state House in April called the "2008 SpendingAccountability Act," that would require a roll call vote for all bills with a fiscal impact. The bill was referred to the Ways and Means Committee where no action was taken during this legislative session.