COLUMBIA, SC (AP) – A crowd of hundreds of tea party activists and campaign supporters crowded into the Statehouse lobby Tuesday to see Gov. Nikki Haley sign a bill requiring more roll call votes in South Carolina’s House and Senate.
Cheers and applause greeted Haley and legislation that was a rallying point for her come-from-behind gubernatorial campaign. Her signature on the new law marked the end of a three-year fight she picked with the Legislature’s leaders while she was a little-known House member from Lexington.
“This is about accountability in South Carolina. And this is about the people having the right to know what their elected officials are doing all the time because elected officials work for the people and not the other way around,” Haley said.
The bill requires roll call votes on every bill on second reading, each section of the state budget as well as when the House and Senate approve compromise versions of legislation.
Haley complained three years ago about legislation slipping through the House that would have sweetened retirement pay for legislators. She joined the South Carolina Policy Council and then-Gov. Mark Sanford in criticizing legislators for how much of the Legislature’s work was done with no recorded votes.
Haley, surrounded by tea party activists, noted how they stood up for the legislation during House and Senate hearings.
“This would not have happened without the will of the people. This is what happens when people care about their government,” Haley said. “This is your day.”
Columbia Tea Party organizer Allen Olson beamed as he stood behind Haley. “Now us lowly taxpayers can actually look and see how they’re voting and we can actually hold their records accountable at the next election,” Olson said.