COLUMBIA — South Carolina legislators would have to wait eight years after leaving office before they could lobby their peers, under legislation advanced by a Senate committee.

The Judiciary Committee added the eight-year ban Thursday to an ethics reform package before moving it to the chamber floor.

Democratic Sen. Vincent Sheheen said the revolving door of legislators becoming lobbyists is one of the state’s chief ethics problems.

State law currently requires a one-year wait. But many former legislators return to the Statehouse as paid consultants within that year, then change the label when they can legally become a lobbyist.

Sheheen successfully argued that one year is too short. He initially asked for a five-year wait, but Republican Sen. Lee Bright suggested eight years, noting that’s the equivalent of two Senate terms.