In Monday's local paper, the Governor Mark Sanford has a guest column piece, which is a full c/p below.
"Guest columnist: Session shows need for restructuring
Monday, June 22, 2009
This year’s legislative session closed last Tuesday as the House and the Senate overrode my 10 vetoes. These overrides ranged from effectively taking away the governor’s control over the Ports Authority and giving it to the General Assembly, to a special tax break for developers who have unsold homes that leaves current homeowners to pick up more of the costs of local government.
As troublesome as these overrides might be, the largest issue of this legislative term was obviously the fight over the stimulus money.
In many ways the stimulus fight and the overrides had much more in common than meets the eye because a large part of that friction surrounding it all is a culmination of years of difference in opinion on where our state should go.
South Carolina’s governmental system is fundamentally broken from the standpoint of balance of power.
In my first year, the late Sen. Verne Smith came to me several times and said, “We want to make you the best governor South Carolina has ever known, but you’re making it impossible, because to do it you’ve got to do what we want you to do.” I trust that there was some tongue-in-cheek to what he said, but it strikes me that all too many truths are said in jest.
Until the late 1800s, our legislative body actually appointed the governor. In 1895, “Pitchfork” Ben Tillman put a new constitution in place.
It was based on the fear that a black man would be elected governor in Reconstruction South Carolina.
As a consequence, power from the governor’s office was diffused into the wind so that even if a black man were elected governor it wouldn’t matter, because he wouldn’t have any responsibility anyway. That is an insane model from which to run government in the 21st century.
Our political structure means we have a judicial system and Supreme Court appointed by the legislative body itself, and it’s that same structure that has a lot to do with why government in our state costs more than 130 percent of the U.S. average.
But where do we go from here? Law professor John Simpkins wrote a fascinating piece entitled, “Sanford vs. the stimulus. A moment of truth?” In it he argued that “If one is driving a horse and buggy, wishing that it were a Ferrari will not make it go 250 miles per hour. Gov. Sanford’s attempts to assert 21st century powers within the framework of a 19th century constitution are asking the document to do something it was never intended to do.”
Simpkins asserts our General Assembly has “outsized influence” in the governmental structure due to its sweeping constitutional authority, and that when one considers examples like judicial merit selection by the legislative body it means that there is no balance of powers in South Carolina. “The General Assembly reigns supreme because that is the way the constitution intends it to be,” said Simpkins, and if we don’t like it, then we should change it.
If there is any lasting good that comes out of this legislative session it would to me be in enough people awakening to the fact that our governmental system is indeed fundamentally flawed, and then doing something about it. That’s certainly my hope, but the choice with regard to action is yours."
[link to www.independentmail.com