A historic week in the Senate

This week marked a historic one in the state Senate, as Senate President Pro Tempore Glenn McConnell relinquished his position, and his Senate seat, to assume the office of Lieutenant Governor.

People often assume that the Lieutenant Governor’s office is one with authority second only to the governor, but nothing could be further from the truth. The Lieutenant Governor’s primary job is one of presiding over the Senate, while the President Pro Tempore post has far greater influence in setting and moving the Senate agenda and making appointments to various boards and other panels.

Because of this, Lieutenant Governor McConnell has been widely praised for giving up a far more powerful roll in order to become Lieutenant Governor, as prescribed by the state Constitution. While many people speculated on a hypothetical game of “musical chairs” that McConnell could have used to retain his former role, he instead simply decided to follow what was clearly laid out in the Constitution. For that, we join with many others across South Carolina in thanking him.

As well, the Senate held an election for a new Senate President Pro Tempore, choosing Senator John Courson of Columbia to fill that role. Senator Courson is a longtime Republican, being one of Ronald Reagan’s first prominent supporters in South Carolina. Please join us in also welcoming Senator Courson to the position of Senate President Pro Tempore.

In addition to the changes in leadership, the Senate began debate on the Charter Schools bill.

Charter schools are public schools that give educators the flexibility to create schools that best fit the needs of the local community. Unfortunately, local districts in an effort to avoid competing for funding, have often stymied charter schools’ efforts to get going. The Senate has a bill to streamline many aspects of charter school creation and the admissions process. We believe it will stimulate the growth of charter schools in South Carolina and remove administrative roadblocks for those already operating.

The Senate also tried to expedite consideration of a bill by Senator Lee Bright that would disallow unemployment benefits for people fired with cause or for misconduct. Too often, companies are forced to pay benefits for employees that were fired for good reason, something that costs taxpayers and consumers. Democrats blocked the consideration of this bill temporarily, but it isn’t dead and we hope to take it up later this session.

Thank you for allowing us to serve you in the state Senate. The Republican Caucus remains committed to looking after your tax dollars and promoting the conservative values of South Carolinians.

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