Update 4/21/23: Several adjustments were made to this summary to reflect developments that occurred during the week.
The Senate this week will debate and vote on its version of the state budget, while the House has a busy schedule after being out last week. In our latest report, we examined the House and Senate budget proposals and came to an important conclusion: South Carolina needs (and can afford) a bigger income tax cut than is currently planned. Click here to learn more.
With only several weeks left in the session, these remaining legislative days will be critical to getting good bills across the finish line, while keeping bad bills from advancing. Learn more about our policy positions by checking out our 2023-24 Legislative Agenda.
- S.39 – This bill would create a new education scholarship program for low-income K-12 students. Under the proposal, parents could use scholarship funding to pay for private school tuition, textbooks, tutoring services, transportation to other schools and more. A similar education scholarship bill nearly passed last year. The bill is on the House floor. Read our bill analysis to learn more.
- S.164 – This bill would eliminate state Certificate of Need (CON) requirements for most South Carolina healthcare facilities. CON forces healthcare providers to go through an extensive approval process before constructing or expanding facilities or making certain purchases, and the outcome hasn’t been great for healthcare. Repealing CON would give people more options for healthcare and result in lower prices because of increased competition. The full House 3-M Committee is considering the bill Tuesday one hour after House adjournment.
- H.4159 – This bill would establish general parameters for practicing telehealth, which allows doctors to provide services remotely to patients. A House 3-M subcommittee is considering the bill Thursday at 9:30 AM.
- S.208 – This bill would allow counties to impose additional driver’s license and motor vehicle licensing and registration fees on new residents (subject to a local referendum). We oppose this proposal and believe the state should not enact policies that will penalize future residents and deter economic growth. The bill is on the Senate floor, though it is contested.
- H.3605 – These bills would remove barriers to obtaining a work license by preventing licensing boards from using vague terminology for evaluation purposes, and from considering charges against a person that have been dismissed, along with other positive changes. The Senate unanimously passed an amended version of the bill last week, which now goes back to the House. Update: The full Senate advanced H.3605 with an amendment. It now returns to the House.
- S.260 – This bill would require anyone who serves alcohol to take a minimum four-hour class with a test and receive a certificate. It would also create a new state alcohol server training fund. While more education and training may be necessary for some, creating a new regulatory regime for all alcohol servers is not the correct approach to this issue. The bill is on the Senate floor, though it is contested.
- H.3769 – This bill would prevent DHEC from denying the right to repair, replace or construct wells and septic tanks on certain rural lands regardless of municipal water and sewer service. The bill is on the House floor this week. Update: The House unanimously passed H.3769.
- S.95 – This resolution would amend the S.C. Constitution so that the state comptroller general is appointed by the governor with Senate confirmation rather than being elected by voters. The proposed change comes after it was revealed the comptroller’s office is responsible for a $3.5 billion accounting error spanning at least a decade. The resolution is on the Senate floor and needs a two-thirds majority to pass.
As of Tuesday morning, zero of the Senate’s five scheduled committee meetings are scheduled to be livestreamed this week, while 12 of the 15 house meetings are scheduled for live streaming. Under a recent House bill inspired by SCPC’s research, all legislative committee meetings would have to be livestreamed. Here you can find the full list of House and Senate meetings for the week