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South Carolina Public Interest Foundation v. Lucas

Supreme Court of South Carolina

May 18, 2016

South Carolina Public Interest Foundation and Edward D. Sloan, Jr,. individually, and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Petitioners,
v.
James H. "Jay" Lucas, as Speaker of the S.C. House of Representatives, Henry D. McMaster, as President of the S.C. Senate, and the State of South Carolina, Respondents. Hugh K. Leatherman, Sr., in his capacity as President Pro Tempore of the South Carolina Senate, Intervenor

         Heard March 22, 2016.

          Appellate Case No. 2015-001441.

         James G. Carpenter, Esquire, of Carpenter Law Firm, PC, of Greenville, for Petitioners.

         Michael J. Anzelmo, and Blake Terence Williams, both of Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough; Richard L. Pearce, Patrick G. Dennis, and Charles Fennell Reid, all of Columbia, for Respondent James H. " Jay" Lucas, Jr.; Attorney General Alan McCrory Wilson and Deputy Solicitor General J. Emory Smith, Jr., both of Columbia, for Respondents State of South Carolina and Lieutenant Governor Henry D. McMaster.

         Kenneth M. Moffitt and Edward Houseal Bender, both of Columbia, for Intervenor Hugh K. Leatherman, Sr.

         CHIEF JUSTICE PLEICONES. BEATTY, KITTREDGE and HEARN, JJ., concur. FEW, J., dissenting in a separate opinion.

          OPINION

         IN THE ORIGINAL JURISDICTION

         PLEICONES, CHIEF JUSTICE:

         We agreed to hear this constitutional challenge to the 2015-16 Appropriations Act in our original jurisdiction.[1] Petitioners contend, and we agree, that the inclusion of Proviso 84.18[2] in that act violates the " one subject" requirement found in S.C. Const. art. III, § 17. As explained below, we hold that where the general appropriations act contains a section that is not germane to the purpose of that act, i.e., one that does not " reasonably and inherently relate to the raising and spending of tax monies," that section may be excised by a court. In so doing, we modify our holding in Am. Petroleum Inst. v. South Carolina Dep't of Rev., 382 S.C. 572, 677 S.E.2d 16 (2009).[3]

         FACTS

         South Carolina Code Ann. § 57-1-410 (Supp. 2015) provides for the appointment of an administrative official denominated the Secretary of Transportation. This statute, enacted as § 5 of 2007 Act No. 114, reads:

The Governor shall appoint, with the advice and consent of the Senate, a Secretary of Transportation who shall serve at the pleasure of the Governor. A person appointed to this position shall possess practical and successful business and executive ability and be knowledgeable in the field of transportation. The Secretary of Transportation shall receive such compensation as may be established under the provisions of Section 8-11-160 and for which funds have been authorized in the general appropriations act.

         The next section of 2007 Act No. 114 provided:

Unless extended by subsequent act of the General Assembly, the Governor's authority to appoint the Secretary of the Department of Transportation pursuant to Section 57-1-410 terminates and is devolved upon the Department of Transportation Commission effective July 1, 2015. All other provisions regarding the rights, powers, and duties of the secretary shall remain in full force and effect.

         Proviso 84.18 purports to suspend the 2015 termination/devolution provision of 2007 Act No. 114, § 6, for the fiscal year, i.e., until June 30, 2016, thus leaving intact the appointment authority given to the Governor in § 5.

         Petitioners seek a declaration that the inclusion of Proviso 84.18 in the appropriations act violates art. III, § 17. This section of our state constitution provides:

§ 17. One subject.
Every Act or resolution having the force of law shall relate to but one subject, and that shall be expressed in the title.

         Article III, § 17 has three objectives:

" (1) to apprise the members of the General Assembly of the contents of an act by reading the title; (2) to prevent legislative 'log-rolling',[4] and (3) to inform the people of the State of the matters with which the General Assembly concerns itself." Am. Petroleum Inst. v. South Carolina Dep't of Revenue, 382 S.C. 572, 576, 677 S.E.2d 16, 18 (2009).
Sea Cove Dev., LLC v. Harborside Comm. Bank 387 S.C. 95 691 S.E.2d ...

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