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S.C. Lawmakers Consider Abolishing Near Useless Lt. Governor Position


As current South Carolina Lieutenant Governor Ken Ard is in the midst of an ethics investigation, a pair of lawmakers from each side of the aisle are advocating that the palmetto state rid itself of the position, saying it would save taxpayers up to $1 million a year. The State reports:

"'I see no reason to continue that office at all,' said Land, leader of the Senate’s minority party Democrats.

At one time, Land said, the lieutenant governor had political power. The lieutenant governor appointed Senate members of conference committees, which hash out differences in House and Senate bills. But the Senate took that power away from the lieutenant governor.

Now, the lieutenant governor holds a part-time job that pays $45,000 a year. He presides over the Senate and is in charge of the state Office on Aging and its $35 million-a-year budget.

'That alone is proof that we don’t think it’s a necessary office, and the man does not have enough to do,' Land said."

Along With Republican Larry Martin, Land introduced a bill last session that would have abolished the office to save money while designating the head of the Senate as the emergency governor to ensure the gubernatorial line of succession.

As of the now the National Lieutenant Governors Association, which among other activities gathers at least two times a year to recognize the importance of the arts to the United States economy and organize trips to embassies so lieutenant governors can meet international diplomats, reports that all but seven states have specific lieutenant governor positions. Three — Arizona, Oregon and Wyoming — designate the secretary of state as their state’s No. 2 constitutional officer. The remaining four — Maine, New Hampshire, Tennessee and West Virginia — designate the president of the Senate as the successor-in-waiting to the governor if needed.

If you live in one of the 43 states with a lieutenant governor on the payroll do you know what he or she actually does? And if it's something your state really needs?

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