Statehouse Update Apr 23-25

Statehouse Update Apr 23-25

Update 4/26/24: Several adjustments were made to this summary to reflect developments that occurred during the week.

With just three weeks left in the regular session, the pace has picked up at the Statehouse as legislators work to turn bills into law. Of those is the proposed FY25 state budget, which the Senate will debate starting on Tuesday. Among other things, the Senate budget plan would double the size of this year’s personal income tax cut, taking the top rate from 6.4% to 6.2%.  

A new Forbes article covers the tax-cut plan and quotes SCPC’s Bryce Fiedler about the prospect of returning $1.8 billion in unclaimed funds to taxpayers.  

Meanwhile, a proposal to enhance South Carolina’s judicial selection process is under review by a House subcommittee this Wednesday. The bill would make it so that more qualified candidates can seek election and require the Judicial Merit Selection Commission (JMSC) to livestream its meetings, among other positive changes. We hope the subcommittee considers strengthening the bill by adopting a requirement to prohibit sitting lawmakers from serving on the JMSC.  

Plus, a large energy bill that would, under certain circumstances, allow customers to be charged for abandoned utility projects appears to be on ice. Last week, Republican Senate Majority Leader Shane Massey raised concerns about the bill’s quick passage through committee and suggested delaying it until next year.  

In case you missed it, be sure to check out our latest report from SCPC research intern Ella Williams on making South Carolina’s budget process more open and transparent.  


FY25 state budget (H.5100 & H.5101)The Senate begins debate on its version of the next state budget starting Tuesday. The budget contains a proposal to double this year’s scheduled income tax cut, taking the top tax rate from 6.4% to 6.2% (rather than to 6.3%). Update: The Senate advanced its version of the budget with the above tax cut. 


  • Improving judicial selections (S.1046) - This bill would enhance South Carolina’s process of selecting judges. Proposed changes 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: A House Judiciary subcommittee amended and advanced the bill. 

  • School board livestreaming (S.134) – This bill would require all local S.C. 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: Advanced with amendments by the House EPW Committee. It now heads to the House floor. 

  • 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. Status: The House EPW Committee takes up the bill Wednesday afternoon. (Status will be verified next week.)

  • 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. Status: The House EPW Committee takes up the bill Wednesday afternoon. (Status will be verified next week.)

  • 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. Read more here. Status: On the Senate floor; however, last week, 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. Status: On the Senate floor. (Note: This summary may differ from the bill as amended by the Senate Finance Committee on 4/18/24)

  • 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. Status: On the Senate floor. 

  • "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 here. Update: The House Judiciary Committee advanced the resolution. Now on the House floor. 

  • 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. Update: Advanced with amendments by the House Judiciary Committee. It sits on the House floor with numerous members requesting debate.

  • Unemployment benefits (H.4710) – This bill would change the maximum amount of unemployment insurance benefits that beneficiaries can receive. The new scale of benefits would result in fewer benefits paid when the unemployment rate is lower. Status: A Senate LCI subcommittee takes up the bill at 10am on Tuesday. If passed, the bill will go before the full Senate LCI Committee on Thursday at 9am.

  • Unemployment benefits (S.151) – This bill would reduce the maximum potential benefits of any insured worker in a benefit year from twenty to thirteen. Status: A Senate LCI subcommittee takes up the bill at 10am on Tuesday. If passed, the bill will go before the full Senate LCI Committee on Thursday at 9am.


As of Monday afternoon, nine of the 13 House committee meetings are scheduled to be livestreamed, while only two of the seven 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.