SC Legislative Update
By Ben Homeyer
It is risky to speculate on what will be forthcoming from the General Assembly in the 2022 session beginning on January 11. Legislative priorities are always fluid, but here is my best thinking on top agenda items:
- Money tops the agenda. The state will be working with several billion dollars in new non-recurring and recurring dollars. They also have over $500 million in a settlement with the government dealing with Savannah River site. The house is beginning their budget talks already. The Department of Transportation is looking for over $600 million to speed up projects.
- Also high on the money agenda is how best to spend the $2 billion from the federal government’s American Rescue Plan. Infrastructure and broadband are high on the list for the dollars. There have been over $4billion in requests for the $2billion in actual dollars.
- Redistricting still needs to be settled. House and Senate maps have been drawn but congressional delegation lines are still being settled. It is widely expected that lawsuits will be brought.
- Bills to increase election integrity are also top agenda items. South Carolina was recently ranked #8 among states with high election integrity. The House is looking at this more than the senate as they are up for election this year.
- Certificate of Need which deals with who can operate a hospital or medical facility will be front an center in the Senate. This potentially effects the cost that all south Carolinians pay for health care.
- Medical Marijuana will be the first issue that the Senate takes up. After eight years the bill will finally come up for a vote. It is expected to take several weeks with numerous law enforcement supporting senators expected to speak against the measure.
Sadly, the covid update is back. South Carolina is seeing a massive uptick in cases. In the last week the state has been averaging roughly 8,000 cases a day. The state is seeing the highest numbers in over a year. Just before Thanksgiving the state was at less than 500 a day. It is not expected that the State will implement any state-wide mask mandates.