By Ben Homeyer
The South Carolina General assembly began this week with a flourish of roughly 1200 bills being introduced. A large number of these will never see the light of a committee hearing but some will see it thru to the end. Covid liability protections were introduced in both bodies. S 147 in the senate and H3968 in the house. We have been working with leadership in both bodies to get these bills moving as quickly as we can. It is expected the senate version should start having hearings next month.
Budget hearings are entering their Second week with a planned completion by February 4. The state is currently looking at a roughly $1 billion budget surplus. The dollars are mainly non-recurring revenue but there is also approximately $100 million in recurring as part of the 1 billion. As part of the governors budget he has placed $123 million for small businesses to have access to grants related to COVID-19 and the house is already moving legislation to open and $50 million for economic development projects.
The cloud of Covid is certainly hanging over the state house. Three members tested positive this week after being on session along with several staff. The buildings will remain on lockdown with all meetings being streamed virtually. The state house next week will also be on lockdown because of threats against the capital in relation to the presidential inauguration.