Examining South Carolina’s massive proposed budget

While the 2021 regular legislative session ends this week, lawmakers are set to return to Columbia in June – possibly on three separate occasions – to address a number of matters as allowed per the end-of-session rules, or “sine die” resolution. The most immediate of these legislative responsibilities is passing the state budget, as the […]

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What’s going on with Santee Cooper?

UPDATE as of 5/7/21: This week, the House voted to keep the option to explore selling Santee Cooper in H.3194, while adopting some of the Senate’s “reform” measures, including those that would increase lawmakers’ power over the utility. The Senate version of the bill does not contain the option of selling Santee Cooper. Because of […]

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Requiring businesses serving liquor to earn majority of their revenue from food, non-alcoholic drinks

S.536, which received a committee hearing Wednesday, would require businesses serving liquor-based drinks to earn at least 51% of their total revenue from food and non-alcoholic beverages. The bill would expand South Carolina’s already restrictive liquor laws, which don’t recognize traditional bars or nightclubs.    Instead, any business (with exceptions for hotels and micro distilleries) […]

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Bills update 2021: what passed and what to watch

Last week (Saturday, April 10) was the 2021 crossover deadline, which means bills that failed to pass one chamber (House or Senate) and cross to the other by this date would need a two-thirds vote to be considered. As this is the first year in a two-year session, bills that failed to meet this deadline […]

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S.499 – Election law challenges & appointments

This bill (S.499) would establish that the House speaker and Senate president, on behalf of their respective bodies, have an “unconditional right” to intervene in a state court action that challenges: The validity of an election law An election policy The manner in which an election is conducted Similarly, in federal court, the bill adds […]

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Lawmakers want fewer checks on higher education spending

Update: House lawmakers inserted language from the bill as a proviso in the state budget, which passed the chamber Wednesday. The budget bill now heads to the Senate. Under S.376, as passed by the Senate Education Committee, the state’s largest universities (University of South Carolina-Columbia, Clemson and the Medical University of South Carolina) would be […]

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Diverting gas tax dollars to pay local officials?

On Tuesday, the South Carolina Senate passed a bill that would pay certain transportation officials (appointed by lawmakers) using their county’s local share of gas tax revenue. S.447 would pay each member of the Lee County Transportation Committee (CTC) $100 for each meeting attended, for up to fifteen meetings. This bill would also make the […]

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Bills to watch in 2021

Before convening the 2021 legislative session (which began earlier this month) lawmakers filed roughly one thousand bills in advance of the New Year, known as “prefiles”. These bills can offer a look into what the legislative priorities will be over the next few months. Below is a look at some of the most substantial bills […]