SC Legislative Update

By Ben Homeyer

Six official days remain in the Session for the General Assembly. 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. 

Senate Finance has completed work on their version of the budget and have sent it back to the House who plan to act on the bill the week of May 7th.  Highlights in the Senate version include $100 million for bridge construction. $117 million for rural road safety initiatives which means more barriers, rumble strips, striping etc.  $200 million for Country Transportation. $38 million for airport projects including numerous new runways.  Final funding for large ticket items such as a new vet school at Clemson and a med school at USC Columbia were also included. Infrastructure needs were a major part of the Senate budget.  If most of this budget holds, there will be another major need for concrete in the State.  The House is hoping in the new BEA estimate for the state that several hundred million will be certified leading to even more projects.  

Senators gave their third reading to legislation to incorporate work zone curriculum into driver’s education. The effort is being led by the Carolinas AGC and aims to increase work zone safety awareness and to educate young drivers on navigating work zones safely. The SC Department of Motor Vehicles (SCDMV) would implement the curriculum for all drivers seeking their initial driver’s license. Work one safety has been a major initiative for those at both the SCDOT and private industry who are supplying the workforce to rebuild our roads and bridges.  

The energy debate will continue over the final two weeks with 5118 still in play.  At the heart of the legislation is if Dominion and Santee Cooper can build a multi-billion dollar plant on the site of the Canady’s coal facility.  The House is a major supporter of the legislation while the Senate is less inclined to pass the bill.  It will most likely be an issue that will go right up until the final bell on May 9th.