McMaster veto protects privacy rights

McMaster veto protects privacy rights
July 08 15:20 2018 Print This Article

Governor Henry McMaster issued a veto Friday on the South Carolina Industry, Workforce and Education Data Warehouse proviso in the 2018-2019 state budget. The proviso would allow data collection and sharing of education and certification data on South Carolina residents from pre-school through retirement for the purpose of “workforce development.” McMaster rightly viewed it as a privacy rights issue.  A proviso is a specific budget provision inserted by the House-Senate budget conference committee. Legislators must vote either for or against the conference committee budget, including provisos, without the ability to debate the contents.

In his veto statement, McMaster wrote, “This proviso shows no official oversight for the decisions made by the (three-member) data warehouse committee and no requirements that citizens consent to their personal information being released.” It is not clear when the General Assembly will convene to take up this and other vetoes in the budget, which took effect July 1. It takes 83 Representatives and 31 Senators (two thirds vote) to over-ride a gubernatorial veto.

Unlike regular legislation, which must receive public hearings in House and Senate committees, provisos are inserted by a handful of legislative leaders during the six-member budget conference committee process. Rank-and-file legislators are not given the information they need on provisos to make informed votes on the budget. Something as significant as collecting and sharing our personal information warrants more public scrutiny. The Nerve and its parent non-profit watchdog group, the South Carolina Policy Council, are the only groups to research and report on the contents of this proviso.