To the Contrary

Government restructuring

Opponents of government restructuring didn't break a sweat several weeks ago when a proposed new Department of Administration got a key Senate Judiciary Committee nod. They knew the Senate rules and the adjournment clock were on their side. Now, regrettably, one more session is coming to a close without lawmakers giving the next governor the tools he needs to run a more accountable government.

Unfortunately, there still are enough diehards in the Senate to keep the governor's hands tied in the administrative areas where he should have control.

Instead, they want to keep most of those functions under an entity unique to South Carolina known as the Budget and Control Board. ...

There is some consolation in the fact that this restructuring effort got further along in the Senate this session than in previous years. It's even possible that a majority would have approved the House bill had they been given the chance to bring it to a vote.

There is now legislation in place that House members overwhelmingly approve. It should be revived there early in the next session and sent back to the Senate in plenty of time to outlast the naysayers.

The Immigration bill

South Carolina finally has a state immigration bill that, despite being imperfect, will help make this state less attractive to illegal workers and those who employ them. ...

The bill creates penalties for employers who don't abide by the verification rules, although it allows a 72-hour grace period on the first offense during which employers can abide by the rules and avoid a fine of up to $1,000.

Further, the bill creates a statewide "employer license" that can be suspended on the first two offenses or revoked on a third offense if an employer knowingly hires illegal immigrants.

This is a vast improvement over previous attempts to pass legislation that would have allowed huge loopholes for some business owners. ...

Stopping illegal immigration still largely is a federal issue. Congress has shown little will to pass a meaningful immigration bill, and such comprehensive reform is just what the nation needs. It shouldn't be up to the states to find ways to enforce laws that are the federal government's responsibility. Lawmakers in Washington need to pass a bill that seals the borders, deals with employers who hire illegal immigrants and creates a limited path to citizenship for the estimated 13 million illegal immigrants already here.

In the meantime, South Carolina rightly has joined a growing list of states that have passed laws to handle the issue on their own. This is a good bill that addresses this issue in a meaningful way.