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Why Speaker Bobby Harrell's 100% BIPEC Rating Means Nothing

Why does Speaker Bobby Harrell's BIPEC rating mean nothing? When you decide which bills are voted on, it's easy to assure yourself a 100% rating.

Speaker Bobby Harrell recently tweeted that he got 100% rating from BIPEC which scores legislators on business/industry issues.

From BIPEC's website:


"1) Bills are rated Business Positive or Business Negative by the BIPECPAC Executive Board after a recommendation from the BIPEC Legislative Advisory Committee. 2) Roll call votes concerning BIPECPAC Rated bills are recorded from the official legislative Journal. 3) Each bill vote is weighted according to its relative importance. 4) A raw vote score is calculated based on each legislator’s bill votes and the nature of each legislator’s absences. 5) Points are awarded for sponsoring/cosponsoring Business Positive legislation and points are deducted for sponsoring/cosponsoring Business Negative legislation."

When you are the one (as Bobby Harrell is)  who determines which bills get to the floor for a vote you can ensure only bills that you will vote correctly on get a vote, thus insulating you (and your pals) from things like a bad rating on the BIPEC scorecard. So Bobby Harrell ... and his minions ... are able to get good BIPEC scores because bills/votes that would hurt their BIPEC scores never make it to a vote.

The Fair Tax is a perfect example. Harrell is listed as a co-sponsor, it was assigned to the House Ways and Means committee. The W&M committee chairman, Brian White is also listed as co-sponsor. Brian asks how high, when Harrell says jump.  It has a total of 67 cosponsors. That's more than half of the 124 members of the House. Yet, it didn't even get a vote. Never came out of committee. Harrell is able to act as if he likes and supports a bill yet kills it by never letting it come up for a vote.

My pal Larry Barnett has another example. 

The House has a rule that says the sponsor of a bill can request that it be brought out of committee and to the floor (Senate lacks this rule), so it is harder to kill bills in the House by just leaving them in committee. However, the House has other ways to keep bills from being voted on. If five members object or request debate, the bill goes to the contested calendar until one or more of the objections is withdrawn. This enables a few members to stop a bill, and is often used as leverage to get things passed that should not be passed. Harrell and cronies used this tactic to keep the FOIA bill (H3235) tied up on the contested calendar until almost the end of the session before sending it to the Senate, which facilitated the Senate to use their rules to make sure the bill was dead. The leaders of the two bodies work together to control which bills get through the system. Many bills get approved in House only because Harrell and friends know it will be killed in the Senate.

South Carolina voters ... have you had enough yet of politics as usual in our state?

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Ashley Black August 12, 2012 at 06:24 PM
Maybe none of the sponsors think Fairtax is all that. It had a lot of momentum for a while, but Fairtax is on the downswing. Maybe it's a combination of bad selling and people waking up to the fact that it does nothing to curb spending, but many of us who formerly supported it have lost our enthusiasm. If we're not asking our legislators to put it to a vote, why should they bother?

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