Statehouse Update Apr 16-18

Statehouse Update Apr 16-18

Update 4/19/24: Several adjustments were made to this summary to reflect developments that occurred during the week.

With just four weeks left in the regular session, things are ramping up at the Statehouse to get bills over the finish line. On the calendar this week are several noteworthy proposals, including a bill that would push all S.C. school boards to livestream their meetings, and another to streamline the licensing process for anesthesiologists’ assistants and let more qualified professionals enter the workforce.  

Both were featured in our 2023 Legislative Scorecard.  

Meanwhile, we have great news for tax relief. The budget bill set for debate in the Senate next week looks to double the size of this year’s personal income tax cut, taking the top rate from 6.4% to 6.2% in a move that would let South Carolinians keep more of their hard-earned money. SCPC has long been an advocate for aggressive tax reform, a priority outlined in our January-published Roadmap to Reform.  

On Thursday, a House panel will consider legislation to improve our process for selecting judges. Among other changes, it would give the governor several appointments to the Judicial Merit Selection Commission, which is charged with screening and nominating candidates prior to their election. Before passing the Senate last month, lawmakers removed a handful of provisions that we hope the House considers reinstating:

  • Banning lawyer-legislators from serving on the JMSC 
  • Increasing the period from one to two years that an outgoing legislator must wait before he or she can be elected as judge 
  • Requiring a full county legislative delegation to vote on magistrate recommendations, rather than just the Senate delegation

Learn more about the need for judicial reform here.  

In case you missed it, check out our latest proposal on how to send back the recently uncovered $1.8 billion to taxpayers. The potential rebates might be bigger than you expect.  


  • Judicial elections – After being delayed in February as part of an effort to advance judicial reform legislation, South Carolina’s judicial elections are set for this Wednesday. A new story from The Nerve looks at the upcoming elections and explores the downsides of a statutory cap that limits how many qualified candidates can be nominated per seat.

  • Improving judicial selections (S.1046) – This bill would make several positive changes to South Carolina’s judicial selection process. These include: giving the governor appointments to the Judicial Merit Selection Commission (JMSC); requiring the JMSC to livestream its public hearings; allowing more qualified candidates to become nominated and seek election; and requiring a person serving on JMSC to resign if a judicial candidate is a member of their family. Update: The House Judiciary subcommittee meeting was moved to April 24.


  • Energy omnibus bill (H.5118) – This roughly 70-page bill would make sweeping changes to state energy policy that include: inserting economic development language into the missions of state utility regulators (potentially undermining their independence); growing government by creating a new “S.C. Energy Policy Research and Economic Development Institute''; creating a new “Energy Investment and Economic Development Fund” housed within Santee Cooper; and transferring the Consumer Advocate’s authority to intervene in rate-hike proceedings to another agency. We urge lawmakers to reconsider some of the bill’s red flags should it pass. Update: On the floor Tuesday, Republican Senate Majority Leader Shane Massey raised concerns about how quickly the bill is moving and suggested delaying it until next year, giving lawmakers the rest of 2024 to study the issue. 

  • Counting remote workers to qualify for incentives (H.4087) – At the discretion of the Coordinating Council for Economic Development, this bill would allow businesses to count jobs filled by remote workers to meet the requirements for job development credits. Separately, it would let businesses sell, exchange or transfer job tax credits “to any taxpayer,” so long as the credit was earned after 2022 and before tax year 2029, subject to Joint Bond Review Committee approval. Update: The Senate Finance Committee advanced the bill. It now moves to the floor.


  • School board livestreaming (S.134) – This bill would effectively require all South Carolina school boards to livestream their public meetings. We support this measure and contend that livestreaming is a critical tool for maintaining public engagement and transparency, especially at the local level. Update: A House EPW subcommittee advanced the bill. It now moves to the full House EPW Committee.

  • Non-certified teacher pilot program (S.124) – This bill would establish a pilot program allowing certain schools to hire non-certified teachers in a ratio of up to 10% of their teaching staff. Hired teachers would still need a suitable bachelor’s or graduate degree and at least five years of relevant work experience. Update: A House EPW subcommittee advanced the bill. It now moves to the full House EPW Committee.

  • Teacher work experience (S.305) – This bill would allow educators who have at least five years of qualifying work experience to count that experience when obtaining a teaching certificate, which would entitle them to better pay. Update: A House EPW subcommittee advanced the bill. It now moves to the full House EPW Committee.

  • Extending scholarship stipends (S.125) – This bill would extend the Palmetto Fellows Scholarship and LIFE scholarship stipends to education majors. It would direct the Commission on Higher Education to define what constitutes an education major for such purposes. Update: A House EPW subcommittee advanced the bill. It now moves to the full House EPW Committee.

  • Anesthesiologists' assistants (H.3877)– This bill would increase the number of anesthesiologists' assistants (AA) than an anesthesiologist can supervise from two to four. It would also streamline the AA licensing process. Removing barriers for individuals to enter this critical procession will increase access to anesthesiologist services and could reduce costs because of increased supply. Update: The Senate Medical Affairs Committee advanced the bill. It now moves to the floor.

  • Exempting acute care programs from CON (S.858) – This bill would exempt acute hospital care at home programs from state Certificate of Need (CON) requirements, making it easier to build/expand such facilities and provide patient care. Update: A House 3M subcommittee advanced the bill. The full House 3M Committee will take up the bill next Tuesday. 

  • Licensing genetic counselors (S.241) – This bill would create a new licensing and regulatory regime for genetic counselors, overseen by a five-person Board of Genetic Counselors. UpdateThe House 3M subcommittee advanced the bill. The full House 3M Committee will take up the bill next Tuesday. 


  • "Only" citizens can vote (S.1126) – This resolution proposes an amendment to the S.C. Constitution to specify that only citizens may vote. Currently, the Constitution provides that "every" citizen who is at least 18 years old has the right to vote. However, some organizations, such as Americans for Citizen Voting, argue that the verbiage of "every" rather than "only" could leave the door open to court rulings that let non-citizens vote. For more information about this issue, click hereUpdate: The House Judiciary subcommittee advanced the proposal. The full House Judiciary Committee will take it up next Tuesday. 

  • Restrictions on minors using social media (H.4700) – This bill would regulate social media usage by minors. It would require that before a minor uses an account, he or she must have express consent from a parent or legal guardian. Additionally, it would prevent adults from sending direct messages to minor account holders unless the two parties are already connected on the service. Status: A Senate LCI subcommittee considers the bill Thursday at 9am.

  • Executive Office of Health and Policy (S.915) – This bill would consolidate several state health departments under a new Executive Office of Health and Policy. The office would consist of five sub-departments: the Department of Health Financing, the Department of Public Health, the Department on Aging, the Department of Intellectual and Related Disabilities, and the Department of Behavioral Health and Substance Abuse Services. Status: A House Judiciary subcommittee considers the bill Tuesday one hour after the House adjourns.


As of Monday afternoon, only 13 of the 23 House committee meetings are scheduled to be livestreamed, while only seven of the 13 Senate committee meetings are scheduled to be livestreamed. To view the full committee calendar (showing which meetings are, and are not, being streamed), click here.


  • FY25 state budget (H.5100 & H.5101)–The full Senate is expected to debate the budget the week of April 22, according to its calendar. Its proposed budget contains a personal income tax cut that is twice the size of the reduction proposed by the House, which would take the top tax rate from 6.4% to 6.2%.