SC Legislative Update

By Ben Homeyer

Things have been busy the last few weeks at the State House as only six weeks remain until they adjourn on May 9th. The House will be taking its second furlough week April 1-5 and crossover day is April 10th.  Any bill that has not crossed from one body to the other by crossover, the bill is dead and will have to start the entire process again next January when the legislature returns for the 126th session. The House and Senate will return after Sine a die for a few key dates in June- Supreme Court Election the week of June 5th, June 18-20th for budget conference committee, and June 26th for vetoes. 

Secretary Christy Hall officially retired from SCDOT after 30 years on March 31st, 10 of those serving as Transportation Secretary from her appointment by then-Governor Nikki Haley.  As you remember, Justin Powell who served as Chief Operating Officer at DOT was appointed as Hall’s predecessor and will be confirmed by the SC Senate on April 2nd

The SC Senate will take up the budget in Senate Finance Committee the week of April 9-11th. It is the version that the House passed out a few weeks ago. After the committee it will be deliberated on the Senate floor April 23-25th, and it will head back to the House. 

The tort reform bill S533, also known as the SC Justice Act, passed out of full Senate Judiciary Committee on March 26th and the following day was set for Special Order on the Senate floor, ensuring that it will be debated and voted on in the Senate so that if passed, will crossover in time for the House to act on the bill. The legislation says that businesses only have to pay damages equal to their share of fault in a civil lawsuit. It helps ensure that each party is held accountable for their actions and contributions to the situation and recognizes that justice isn’t served by overburdening one party while letting others off the hook. We will be sure to keep you updated on this extremely important and divisive bill. 

As we have shared in previous updates, this is an election year for all 170 seats in the South Carolina General Assembly -124 in the House and 46 in the Senate. Candidate filing opened on March 16th and closed on March 30th. This election season is expected to be as hot and gritty as we have seen in some time. There are many members not seeking reelection and some of those of note are Senator Nikki Setzler, the Senates longest serving member, Senator Dwight Loftis, Senator Scott Talley and Senator Thomas McElveen. In the House, Representative Raye Felder, Representative Anne Thayer, Representative Ashley Trantham, Representative Bart Blackwell, Representative Adam Morgan is running for Congress, Representatives Jason Elliott and Russell Ott are both running for Senate seats.