SC Legislative Update

By Ben Homeyer

Twelve official legislative days remain in the session.  The crossover deadline has come and gone and the bodies are ready for a final push this session.  

Senate Finance completed work on its version of the budget and will await the full Senate taking it up next week.  Allocating roughly $435 million in one-time dollars to bridges, CTCs, rural road safety, and local/earmarked projects.  In addition, roughly $38 million would go to airports for new projects there and millions at commerce to attract new businesses to the state.  Both the House and Senate put an emphasis on infrastructure in their versions of the budget.  Additionally, the committee used roughly $100 million to lower the state income tax rate down to 6.2%.  The state is currently running roughly $500 million ahead in estimates but the BEA did not release any new dollars for the Senate to spend.  It is expected that they will release dollars next month which will show up in the conference committee and in version two of the House budget.  There is still a massive debate going on what to do with the found $1.8m billion in dollars.  The governor has appointed a group to try and get to the bottom of where the money came from.  The House and Senate are both working on legislation to try and figure out what to do with the dollars.  The Senate has squarely put Treasurer Loftis in their sights as the reason the dollars have not been properly accounted for.  

The Senate will be pushing the Department of Transportation to look at Progressive Design Build.  Secretary Hall was not in favor of such programs, but new Secretary Powell has been more receptive.

Speaking of Secretary Powell, he was officially sworn in by the commission and he has appointed all his deputies and key leaders:

  • Rob Perry, P.E., Deputy Secretary of Engineering
  • Karl McCottry, Deputy Secretary for Finance and Administration
  • Brent Rewis, P.E., Deputy Secretary for Planning
  • Jennifer Necker, P.E., Deputy Secretary for Intermodal and Freight Programs
  • John Boylston – Chief Engineer for Project Deliveries.  

On a legislative front S.533 officially died.  For the first time in 19 years the bill came up for a vote and was set for special order.  The original amendment was defeated which made the bill better but due to a threat of filibuster the bill ultimately died.  Senator Shane Massey is looking to bring it back next year as Senate Bill 1.  He is hoping that 5-6 new senators will make all the difference in passage for the next session.  

On the election front June 11 will loom large as the primary day for South Carolinians.

House races

  • 15 open seats due to retirement of sitting members
  • 42 of 124 seats will run unopposed.

Senate Races

  • 6 open seats due to retirement of sitting members
  • 13 of 46 seats will run unopposed.