SC senators approve joint ticket for top officials

      COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- South Carolina candidates for governor and lieutenant governor would be elected on a joint ticket under legislation advanced by a Senate committee.

      The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 18-4 on Tuesday to let voters decide whether the governor and lieutenant governor should run together.

      The committee later voted 17-2 to let the governor appoint the state superintendent of education.

      The changes would require constitutional amendments. The bills need a two-thirds vote to clear the full Senate and get on the ballot in November 2012. The House overwhelmingly approved both measures last month.

      If voters approve, the joint elections for governor and lieutenant governor would begin in 2014.

      Similar bills to give the governor's office more power died throughout former Gov. Mark Sanford's tenure. Supporters say it's time to let voters decide.

      (Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)