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South Carolina Department of Administration – A Brief History of a Long Road to a Historic Day

web posted February 6, 2014

STATE – Under Governor Haley’s leadership and almost two decades after the first major phase of government restructuring was passed, the General Assembly passed and the governor signed into law S.22, a bill that abolishes the Budget and Control Board and creates a Department of Administration. This Is How It Happened.

1895 – State Constitution: Divided the executive branch into nine separate offices, establishing a state government that later allowed for the creation of hundreds of boards, further weakening the authority of the executive branch.

1945 – Preparedness For Peace Commission: Recommended centralizing functions by merging existing administrative entities and transferring financial affairs under the governor.

1949 – State Reorganization Commission (Governor Strom Thurmond): Recommended reorganizing and modernizing state government; Thurmond termed government reorganization the number one priority of his administration.

1950 – Reorganization Plan No. 2 (Governor Strom Thurmond): Recommended adding two additional executive branch officers the Budget Commission, creating the Budget & Control Board, which flipped a 2:1 legislative board to a 3:2 executive board.

1969 – Committee To Make A Study Of The South Carolina Constitution (Governor Robert McNair; chaired by Lt. Governor John West): Recommended increasing the governor’s appointment powers and strengthening the executive department.

1980 – Two-Term Governors (Governor Dick Riley): Governor Dick Riley led the effort to pass a constitutional amendment allowing governors to run for two consecutive terms, significantly strengthening the power of the executive branch and the office of the governor.

1988 – Commission On The Future (Governor Carroll Campbell): Recommended strengthening the executive branch and creating stronger ethics laws, referring to full income disclosures as the heart of ethics two years before Operation Lost Trust.

1991 – Commission On Restructuring (Governor Carroll Campbell; co-chaired by Lt. Governor Nick Theodore and House Speaker Pro Tempore David Wilkins): Recommended implementing a cabinet form of government, including the creation of an administrative cabinet department.

1993 – Cabinet Form Of Government (H.3546):  Under Governor Campbell’s leadership, the General Assembly passed a bill establishing a cabinet form government with 19 departments in the executive branch, consolidating roughly 145 state agencies, boards, and commissions.

2003 – MAP Commission (Governor Mark Sanford):  Recommended that a Department of Administration be created, reigniting the fight for restructuring reform.

NOTE: Since 2003, 21 bills creating a Department of Administration were introduced over a span of 11½ years by the General Assembly – six bills passing the House and two bills passing the Senate. In the past five years, the House has voted to create a Department of Administration six times.

2003-04: Three bills were filed – one passed the House and died in the Senate.

2005-06: Two bills were filed – one passed the Senate and died in the House.

2007-08: Six bills were filed – two passed the House and died in the Senate.

2009-10: Three bills were filed – one passed the House and died in the Senate.

2011-12: Four bills were filed – one conference report was adopted in the House and died in the Senate.

2013-14: Three bills were filed – one bill, S.22, passed and was signed into law. 

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