Palmetto Sunrise: Haley inaugural puts Legislature on notice for ethics reform

Gov. Nikki Haley, surrounded by her family husband Michael Haley and children Nalin Haley and Rena Haley as she is sword in for a second term by Chief Justice Jean Toal Wednesday January 14,2015 at the Statehouse in Columbia. Grace Beahm/Staff

Inaugural speeches can be many things. Soaring rhetoric mixed with equal parts personal story are usually a part of the alchemy for a speech that sets the stage for things to come.

But when specifics get mentioned, they get a lot of notice: in this case, ethics reform in Gov. Nikki Haley’s second inaugural address Wednesday. The focus there, though, led to criticism among some Democrats who expected Haley to have already laid out her plan to fix the state’s struggling transportation network.

Instead, Haley’s address put the onus on the General Assembly to pass an ethics bill.

“When the speeches are over and all the flowery language without any specifics are over ... the question is do we have real efforts made to improve our state in areas that matter?” asked Rep. James Smith, D-Columbia. “Right now, that is lacking. Her plan seems to be not to have a plan.”

Jaime Harrison, chairman of the Democratic Party, said in a statement he hopes the governor will work with Democrats as she moves forward. She won’t need to, working with Republican majorities in both the House and Senate.

Other Republicans said the speech hit the nail on the head. Ensuring the state’s citizens trust their representatives is key.

The pulse of both chambers will be felt soon enough, as ethics reform bills make their way quickly to the floor of the House and Senate.

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