H4356 – EARMARK REFORM

Today was the last day for House Members to pre-file legislation before we return in January for the last year of the 117th session of the South Carolina General Assembly.

While I have other bills I plan to introduce this year, today I wanted to file legislation that best illustrates what we you have told me we need to fix in government – a lack of transparency and questionable spending procedures.

H.4356 can help accomplish this for our state. When you elected me three years ago, you asked me to lookout for your taxdollars and also work to bring common-sense back to government. This bill does both. This bill is about people, not politics.

As you’re aware, U.S. Senator Jim Demint is actively pushing similar reform in Washington and it applies here locally as well.

I’m proud of the handful of colleagues who already cosponsored the legislation before we even begin our 2008 session. We’ve been working on this before summer and are hopeful for passage this year.

In addition to this earmark reform bill, House Speaker Bobby Harrell and I introduced a similar bill. Representative Michael Thompson (R – Anderson) has also filed similar bills as well.

(To see all House bills pre-filed today, click here)

As always, any input or advice is appreciated. For those that visit this site from around the state, I encourage you to ask your House Member to cosponsor this effort!

Note: You can also ask your Senator to cosponsor the companion bill S.896, pre-filed today by newly-elected Senator Shane Massey (R – Aiken).

General Bill
Sponsors: Reps. Ballentine, Harrell, Mulvaney, E.H. Pitts, Haley, Bedingfield, Lowe, Duncan, Crawford, Shoopman and Talley
Document Path: l:\council\bills\bbm\10238htc08.doc

Prefiled in the House on December 12, 2007
Currently residing in the House Committee on Ways and Means

Summary: Not yet available

HISTORY OF LEGISLATIVE ACTIONS

Date Body Action Description with journal page number
12/12/2007 House Prefiled
12/12/2007 House Referred to Committee on Ways and Means

A BILL

TO AMEND THE CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, BY ADDING SECTION 2-7-67 ENACTING THE “APPROPRIATIONS BILL EARMARK DISCLOSURE ACT” SO AS TO PROVIDE FOR THE DISCLOSURE OF INFORMATION SURROUNDING EARMARKS REQUESTED BY MEMBERS OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY FOR INCLUSION IN AN APPROPRIATIONS BILL, TO PROVIDE DEFINITIONS APPLICABLE FOR THIS DISCLOSURE, AND TO PROVIDE FOR THE ENFORCEMENT OF THESE DISCLOSURE REQUIREMENTS.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:

SECTION 1. Chapter 7, Title 2 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:

“Section 2-7-67. (A) This section may be cited as the ‘Appropriations Bill Earmark Disclosure Act’.
(B) For purposes of this section:
(1) ‘Appropriations bill’ means the annual general appropriations bill, a supplemental appropriations bill, the joint resolution appropriating revenues of the capital reserve fund, a bill appropriating contingency reserve fund revenues, or any other bill appropriating state revenues while these bills are under consideration by the House Ways and Means Committee or Senate Finance Committee, or any subcommittee thereof, and any free conference committee on an appropriations bill. For purposes of this definition, a bill includes a joint resolution.
(2) ‘Earmark’ means:
(a) an appropriation for a specific program or project requested by a member of the General Assembly not originating in a written agency budget request;
(b) language in an appropriations bill requested by a member of the General Assembly directing or steering the expenditure of funds appropriated to an agency for a purpose or to a county or municipality not included in the agency’s budget request.
(C)(1) A member of the General Assembly requesting an earmark in an appropriations bill shall make the request in writing on a form designed jointly by the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee. Minimally, the form must include the member’s name, the specifics of the earmark request, including the county or municipality to which the earmark is steered if not statewide, the purpose to be accomplished by the earmark request, and such other information as the form may require. The form must be filed with the clerk of the House Ways and Means Committee or Senate Finance Committee, as appropriate. All earmark requests must be date/time stamped at the time of filing. The committee shall maintain for public inspection during normal business hours a register containing a copy of each earmark request filed in order of filing and a copy of the earmark request must be published on the General Assembly’s website within three business days of filing. In the case of an earmark request while an appropriations bill is under consideration by a committee of free conference, the form must be filed with the designee of the chairman of the committee of free conference and this filing applies, mutatis mutandis, in the manner of filing with a committee clerk for purposes of consideration of the earmark request in a committee of free conference. An earmark may not be considered in the House Ways and Means Committee or Senate Finance Committee or any subcommittee thereof or in a free conference committee for inclusion in an appropriations bill before the filing of the earmark request form required pursuant to this subsection.
(2) The chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee, the chairman of a subcommittee of those committees, and the chairman of a committee of free conference, while these committees are considering an appropriations bill, shall enforce the requirements of this section.”

SECTION 2. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor and applies for appropriations made for fiscal years beginning after June 30, 2008.

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