GOP leaders urge action: Senate pushed to reconvene to address immigration

By Dave Munday

Sunday, June 5, 2011

GOOSE CREEK — The leaders of three county Republican parties came together Saturday morning to urge the state Senate to reconvene to finish passing immigration and government restructuring bills.

Republican Gov. Nikki Haley has ordered the Senate back into session Tuesday to finalize a bill creating a Department of Administration that would replace the Budget and Control Board. Sen. Glenn McConnell of Charleston has said her order is unconstitutional and he plans to file a challenge in the state Supreme Court Monday morning.

Charleston County Republican Party Chair woman Lin Bennett, Berkeley County Republican Party Chairman Tim Callanan and Dorchester County Republican Party Chairman Carroll Duncan issued a joint statement at the Berkeley County Republican Breakfast on Saturday. Bennett read the statement as the other two stood by her side in a show of unity.

They urged state legislators to 'return to Columbia to complete the work that the people of South Carolina had sent them there to do. ... The hard-working citizens of South Carolina want legislation in the form of reform for the Department of Administration and an Arizona-style immigration bill.'

About 75 people sitting at tables waiting for breakfast broke into applause, especially at the mention of the immigration bill.

'They (citizens) don't want to hear about rules … legal maneuvers … political posturing,' the statement continued. 'They want results. ... We are asking them (legislators) please not file lawsuits … please not threaten each other … please get to work … and finish the job that we, the people, have asked them to.'

Sens. Paul Campbell of Goose Creek and Larry Grooms of Bonneau, who were scheduled to speak at the breakfast, both said they plan to show up in Columbia on Tuesday morning as the governor has ordered. They also said they would like to see a court settle the legal questions about the ordered session before they proceed, so they don't end up passing legislation that is overturned later.

'I do believe there are certain constitutional and legal considerations that need to be worked out, but until they are, I will be there Tuesday,' Grooms said. 'If it was passed in violation of the law, the whole bill is gone. I believe that would be a mistake until we have some resolution from the courts as whether that would be a legal action. I don't want to kill the bill.'

Campbell agreed.

'It's not all bad to have the Supreme Court give us a judgment on it, and they can do that really quickly on Monday,' he said. 'Let's check it out to make sure we're doing it appropriately. The question is not whether you get restructuring or not, it's when you get restructuring. Do you get it in June or do you get it in January?'