By Ben Homeyer
We had an excellent Legislative call on March 21st. Thank you to all of the members that were able to join us live on the call.
The House and Senate continued to meet in full session with one week to go before the crossover deadline of April 10th. Any bill that originated in one body must be sent to the other body prior to that date or it can only be taken up by 2/3 vote of the receiving body. Very few bills make the threshold so the bulk of the legislation that is filed will be done for the year. There are procedural moves which can be done to attach legislation to other viable bills, so we continue to monitor everything.
Coal Ash was in the mouths of many Senators this past week as they dealt with utility related bills and recovery of storm damage costs. Multiple senators were trying to put securitization of coal ash as part of some legislation at the behest of Duke Energy but those efforts did not pass. It is possible that it could come back on the floor of the Senate next week.
Everything from DHEC reform in S2 to income tax reform to continued work on the budget will dominate the final six weeks of the session.
Speaker Jay Lucas (R-Darlington) has announced that he will not seek reelection.
Lucas has served in the House since 1999. He became Speaker Pro Tempore in 2010 and ascended to Speaker in 2014 when former Speaker Bobby Harrell was indicted.
During his remarks on the floor, he thanked his colleagues for entrusting him with the responsibility and, most importantly, their friendship.
Speaker Lucas’ departure comes a week after House Majority Leader Gary Simrill (R-York) announced that he would not seek another term.
Ways & Means Chairman Murrell Smith (R-Sumter) is slated to become Speaker when the House convenes for organizational session in December. Chairman Smith has served in the SC House for 21 years and has bipartisan support to assume the role.
Things will be different in the SC House in 2023. Expect a lot of shuffling amongst the House leadership, committees, and some new faces.
Attached here is a full list of all the candidates for primary elections that will be held in June. At a minimum twenty new members of 1/5th of all the members will change when the next session convenes