Statehouse Update Apr 30-May 2

Statehouse Update Apr 30-May 2

Update 5/2/24: Several adjustments were made to this summary to reflect developments that occurred during the week.

It is the second to last week of South Carolina’s regular legislative session. The big topic ahead is judicial reform, as a bill offering numerous improvements to our state’s judicial selection process is in the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. In the likely event it passes, the full House could debate the bill later this week. 

Considering differences in the respective House and Senate reform proposals, we likely won’t know what the final judicial package looks like until it comes out of conference committee (where a group of lawmakers from each chamber come together to reach a compromise version). As the bill progresses, we have several policy recommendations that could make the final package stronger: 

  • Prohibiting lawyer-legislators from serving on the Judicial Merit Selection Commission (JMSC).
  • Requiring a full county legislative delegation vote on magistrate recommendations (rather than just from the Senate delegation, as current is practice). Learn more about this issue here
  • Increasing the period from one to two years that an outgoing legislator must wait before he or she can be elected as judge. 

Meanwhile, a bill that would require local S.C. school boards to livestream their meetings for increased transparency is on the House floor. Over in the Senate, lawmakers have before them an excellent bill that would streamline the licensing process for anesthesiologists' assistants and allow more of them to be supervised at once.

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  • 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 fixing the loophole that allows magistrates to serve beyond the expiration of their terms, sometimes for years (learn more here). Update: On the House floor, likely to be taken up next week. (Note: This summary reflects a strike-and-insert version of the bill as proposed by the House Judiciary Constitutional subcommittee. It appears the House will use S.1046 as a vehicle to pass its preferred reform package, H.5170, so that it can hammer out a final compromise bill with the Senate in conference committee.)

  • Livestreaming school board meetings (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: Awaiting consideration on 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. Update: Passed the House and returned to the Senate with amendment(s).

  • 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: Passed the House and returned to the Senate with amendment(s).


  • 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)

  • South Carolina-Ireland Trade Commission (S.621) – This bill would create the South Carolina-Ireland Trade Commission with a mission to advance trade and encourage investment among the two partners. A majority commission appointments would be controlled by legislative leadership. When it comes to economic development, South Carolina would be better off prioritizing tax and business policies that encourage natural growth and investment, not trade deals facilitated by a government bodies. Updated: Passed the House and sent to the governor's desk for signing. 


  • 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: This bill is on the Senate floor, although it is currently contested.

  • 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. Update: On the House floor. Debate adjourned until 5/7/24. 

  • 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: On the House floor. Debate adjourned until 5/7/24. 

  • "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, have pointed out that the use of "every" instead of "only" could leave the door open to court rulings that let non-citizens vote. For more information about this issue, click hereUpdate: Passed by both chambers. As this is a constitutional amendment, it will be put on the upcoming ballot for voters to decide in November.  

  • 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: On the House floor with numerous members requesting debate.

  • Golf club dues tax exemption (H.3880) – This bill would prevent admissions tax from being charged or collected on annual or monthly dues paid for a golf club membership. Update: Passed Senate and sent to the governor's desk for signing. 
  • Feminine hygiene products tax exemption (H.3563) – This bill would exempt feminine hygiene products from sales tax. Update: Passed Senate and sent to the governor's desk for signing. 

  • Prohibiting gender reassignment procedures for minors (H.4624) – This bill would prohibit physicians, mental health providers, or other health care professionals from knowingly providing gender-transition procedures to a person under 18 years of age. Update: Passed the Senate and returned to the House with amendments. 

  • Name, image and likeness (NIL) (H.4957) – This bill would substantially revise the NIL standards for collegiate athletes across the state, allowing state universities to facilitate NIL deals for student athletes. For more information about the proposal, click here. Status: Received second reading in the Senate on Apr. 25.



FY25 state budget (H.5100 & H.5101) After passing in the Senate last week, the proposed FY25 state budget returns to the House and will then head to conference committee, where three lawmakers from each chamber will work to reach a final compromise bill. Of note, the Senate version of the budget includes a plan to double this year’s personal income tax cut (taking the top rate from 6.4% to 6.2%), while the House proposes a one-time property tax credit for homeowners. We support a final budget that accomplishes both. 



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