S.C. Senate Unable to Act on Transportation Legislation

Some are calling South Carolina dysfunction junction as the state continues to struggle with getting a transportation bill through its legislature.

A slew of business leaders descended on the state Capitol in Columbia on March 1 demanding that the Senate vote on transportation legislation that has passed the House. The Senate’s failure to act two months into the legislative session prompted Ted Pitts, CEO of South Carolina’s Chamber of Commerce, to ask state senators to return their paychecks, a request that was quickly denied as they met for five hours on March 1 without taking up the transportation bill.

"In the business world, you don't get paid if you don't do your job," Pitts told reporters in Columbia.

Led by state Sen. Tom Davis, a few of the most conservative senators, are staging a filibuster of the transportation bill. If the Senate votes to stop the filibuster, that invokes cloture, meaning only 10 minutes of debate can be done on each amendment, which Senate President Pro Tempore Hugh Leatherman has said isn’t sufficient for some of the roughly 300 amendments. Davis spoke longer on March 1, seeking support for his medical marijuana bill.

Despite the filibuster, South Carolina’s Senate hasn’t stayed in session for as long as seven hours on any day.