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      Senator suggests eliminating Lt. Gov. office

      Pickens Senator Larry Martin is proposing to eliminate the office of Lt. Gov., according to the Greenville News.

      COLUMBIA -- A powerful state Senator is proposing to eliminate the office of Lieutenant Governor in a move he says would save the state money.

      Pickens Senator Larry Martin is chairman of the Senate Rules Committee. Martin said Friday eliminating the Lt. Gov. office could save the state approximately $300,000 per year.

      Martin said his idea does not reflect a lack of confidence in current Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer. Martin said he plans to draft legislation to empower the Senate President Pro Tem to perform the part-time duties of the office instead.

      A spokesman for the Lt. Gov.'s office dismissed the idea Friday and said Martin's plan would take away the people's ability to choose who is first in line to succeed the governor.

      "We think people should decide for themselves," said Lt. Gov. spokesman Frank Adams. "The Lieutenant Governor is elected and that gives people a voice."

      Martin said he doesn't think the public would oppose eliminating the office because the public appears to support a long-suggested idea of reforming elections to have the governor and Lt. Gov. run on a joint ticket.

      "I think most people would vote on (who would be) governor anyway," said Martin.

      Martin said his staff is currently drafting the bill. He plans to introduce the idea in the Senate next week.