Senate leader to file lawsuit challenging special session

COLUMBIA (WACH, AP) -- Thursday evening, Gov. Nikki Haley called state lawmakers back to work next week.

Haley called a short-notice press conference Thursday afternoon minutes after the legislature adjourned for the year at 5 p.m., telling lawmakers she is calling them back into session Tuesday morning.

Now, Senate President Pro Tem Glenn McConnell says he expects to file a lawsuit Monday challenging Haley's order.

"I don't know if it will be timely in a sense, I don TMt know if the court will have enough time to deal with it. Between the time it TMs filed on Monday and the deadline Tuesday," says Senator Brad Hutto (D) District 40.

McConnell argues the governor lacks the constitutional authority to call members of the GOP-controlled Legislature back when they're technically in recess. The House plans to go back into session.

However, Attorney General Alan Wilson says he supports the order after Haley requrested his opinion Friday afternoon.

"We are an administration that believes in results and the results didn't happen by Thursday. We've got some unfinished business," Governor Nikki Haley.

Wilson issued an opinion re-affirming a 1984 opinion that Haley has the legal authority to order them back in session.

Shortly before the governor took the microphone Thursday, angry lawmakers stormed the State House lobby and took over the podium. House Democrats said it would be wasteful to call them back to session and would cost the state $42,000 per day.

Haley is calling on lawmakers to work without pay during the special session. Several angry lawmakers responded by asking if the governor will give up her salary.

Haley told reporters she wants lawmakers to return to work on legislation that didn't get to a final vote, specifically a government restructuring bill that would shift more power to the governor's office. The Senate debated that bill for over an hour Thursday, but did not vote on the final bill before adjourning.

That means lawmakers would have to wait until January before taking it up again. Haley said she wants lawmakers to pass the legislation so her staff has the summer to plan for its implementation.

A wrap-up session was already scheduled for June 14 for lawmakers to deal with vetoes and other unfinished business, but they are limited in what they can take up.

What do you think about the governor calling lawmakers back to work and asking them to work without pay? Leave your thoughts below in the comment section.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)