It's a good thing Glenn McConnell didn't proceed with his plan to resign as lieutenant governor this week, since the Senate would otherwise have been left no one to sign bills into law as the Legislature completes its work in mid-June.
As Senate president pro tempore, John Courson should have taken the lieutenant governor's job upon Mr. McConnell's resignation. But the Richland Republican resigned that legislative leadership position this week rather than follow the line of succession determined by the state Constitution.
In contrast, Mr. McConnell left the powerful Senate position in March 2012 to take over as lieutenant governor when Ken Ard was forced to resign over ethics violations. It was a reluctant decision on Mr. McConnell's part, but it was the right thing to do.
Mr. McConnell saw his duty then as he sees his legislative duty now.
In Sen. Courson's case, had he assumed the lieutenant governor's job, he would have had a comparatively inconsequential position for about seven months and lost his Senate seat in the process.
Ironically, the succession issue will be altered when the lieutenant governor is chosen by the governor as his or her running mate for the 2018 election.
Too bad the General Assembly wasn't willing to give Gov. Nikki Haley that authority sooner when it wrote the ballot question, approved by the voters in 2012.
The lieutenant governor's main role is presiding over the Senate, and his presence is needed through the session to ensure that bills are ratified.
That requires the signature of the lieutenant governor or, in his absence, the Senate president pro tempore. So Lt. Gov. McConnell has agreed to stay on through mid-month, even though he is slated to take the helm at the College of Charleston on July 1.
After that, the problem of the vacant lieutenant governor's position will return. Gov. Haley insists that she should have a lieutenant governor as a backup if she's gone from the state or is otherwise unable to fulfill her duties.
Maybe there's a senator who'd be willing to assume the pro tempore role for about a minute as the Legislature prepares to leave town for good in mid-June, and then be elevated to the lieutenant governor's position.
The job doesn't pay much, but the duties are comparatively light, particularly after the Senate goes home.
And it would look good on anyone's resume.
Indeed, as Mr. Courson played hot potato with the job, four Republican candidates were earnestly campaigning for the nomination in the run-up to Tuesday's primary election.
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