House passes Earmark Reform rule change

Office of the Speaker

SOUTH CAROLINA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Greg Foster
January 23, 2008 (803) 734-3125
fosterg@scstatehouse.net

House Passes Earmark Reform Rule

Rule change, first major accomplishment in ending hidden earmark spending

(Columbia, SC) – Today, House Speaker Bobby Harrell and the House Republican Caucus approved a change to House Rules that will end the practice of hidden earmark spending in our state’s budget.

Speaker Harrell called the plan, “A victory for the taxpayers.” Harrell said, “Lawmakers must be held accountable for how the taxpayer’s money is spent. If lawmakers are not willing to put their name by an item they are requesting, it is probably something that should not be done in the first place.”

Nathan Ballentine “This is a major step in bringing more transparency to the way we spend the taxpayer’s money. This move should go a long way in helping to reduce wasteful spending in our state’s budget.”

The House Rule will require legislators to attach their name and a description of the spending project to any non-agency request included for consideration in our state’s budget. This separate document will be made available to the public throughout the budget process.

House Rules Committee Chairman Brian White said, “This rule change sheds light on our budget process and shows the House’s commitment to ending this practice of hidden spending in our state’s budget.”

Under this rule, anonymous spending earmarks from the Senate will take a two-thirds vote from the House to be considered in the final state budget.

Legislation containing the same language as the rule change has also been introduced and is supported by the House Republican Caucus for passage by both bodies of the legislature.

# # #