SC State House Happenings

How small groups of lawmakers control massive state institutions

There is little question that South Carolina lawmakers exert tremendous power over state government, and consequently, the life everyday citizens. This topic is something the Policy Council has researched extensively over the years, and is perhaps best illustrated by our report titled “Who Runs South Carolina State Government?“ published in 2017.   Our latest project returns to the …

Explosive spending, questionable provisos define next year’s budget

State lawmakers this week approved what will be the final version of next fiscal year’s $32 billion-plus budget, pending vetoes issued by the governor. The General Assembly will take up any vetoed items when it reconvenes next Tuesday for the final time this month.   Not only is this budget the largest in state history, it contains a multitude of year-long provisos that alter state law and have little to do …

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 …

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 …

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 …

university of sc - usc

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 …

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 …

Bills filed during 2/2/21 – 2/4/21

. Taxation/ Spending  H.3790 – Appropriating an additional 4% of the funds received by the General Fund from admission taxes to the Dept. of Parks, Recreation and Tourism for exclusive use of the SC Film Commission until the Commission receives 46% of the fund’s admission tax annually  H.3820 – Paying the Spartanburg County School District …

Bills filed during 1/25/21 – 1/28/21

. Spending S.491 – Issuance of $550 million in General Obligation bonds (backed by every taxpayer in the state) for a Charleston Port expansion project H.3707 – Appropriating $45,000,000 to MUSC and $63,000,000 to DHEC from the Contingency Relief Fund (and another $100,000,000 to a vaccine reserve account) H.3770 – Authorizing the use of federal …