SC Legislative Update

By Ben Homeyer

The House took up the budget this week and completed work Wednesday on their version of the $13+ billion state portion.  The bulk of the new $1.6 billion the House had to spend went towards tax relief with $500 million to property tax relief.  The Department of Transportation was able to maintain its $200 million for bridge projects and Commerce would receive $70 million for the closing fund to attract companies to South Carolina.  Smaller items like projects at commercial airports around the State as well as dollars for local road projects were also included.  This is just the first phase of the process as the Senate will begin to write their version right away.  Sub hearings are already taking place with the SCDOT presenting their needs to the finance committee this week.   We will continue to monitor the process as last year the Senate removed the bridge dollars the House allocated.  

The Senate spent the bulk of their time on Judicial reform which at this time they have not resolved yet.  They are going on two full weeks on the Senate floor on the measure.  Word of a compromise is starting to filter thru the chamber which would then free them up to move on to other issues such as Tort Reform, changes to Unemployment requirements as well as the budget.  The Senate currently has 63 individual pieces of legislation on their calendar.  

Filing will begin for House and Senate races at Noon on March 16th and continue for two weeks.  During that time, we will know who is potentially coming back and who is not.  Many Senators and House members have already indicated that they do not plan to file for re-election.