Statehouse Update Jan 16-18

Statehouse Update Jan 16-18

Update 1/18/24: Several adjustments were made to this summary to reflect developments that occurred during the week.

Things are picking up pace in the second week of South Carolina’s legislative session. In the Senate, a bill that seeks to limit the influence of ESG (environmental, social and governance) factors on state retirement funds has been set for priority on the calendar. Meanwhile, more than two dozen state agencies are presenting their FY2024-25 budget plans (with plenty of new spending requests) to House lawmakers. Bills affecting healthcare, tax policy and government structure are being considered in committee. 


  • Liquor Liability Insurance Ad Hoc Committee – Examining South Carolina’s civil liability system and rising insurance rates. Hearing from personal injury attorneys, insurance professionals, and other stakeholders. We should note that at least two House bills (H.3933 and H.3053) already exist that would, to varying degrees, resolve issues with the state's liability system. Therefore, we question why the Judiciary Committee would hold a non-actionable study committee instead of holding a proper hearing on existing bills, particularly when H.3933 has 50 House sponsors.

    The committee meets Wednesday at 12:30pm. Click here to watch the livestream.

    Background: In South Carolina, individuals and businesses can be forced to pay entire legal verdicts even if they are only partially at fault for an incident (known as “joint and several” liability. In addition to driving up costs and insurance premiums, this system threatens to put small and even medium-sized companies out of business after a single lawsuit. Read more about the issue in our 2023 report.

  • Shielding pension funds from ESG (H.3690) – This bill seeks to shield state retirement funds from ESG influence by requiring shareholder proxy votes to be cast based on “pecuniary factors” (meaning those affecting risk or return and excluding factors that promote ESG). It would also limit when the Retirement System Investment Commission can delegate proxy-voting rights to investment managers. SCPC strongly supports this bill. Update: The Senate unanimously passed the bill. It now heads to the governor's desk. 
  • Telehealth and telemedicine (H.4159) – This bill would create a new chapter of law governing telehealth with light regulations, such as ensuring telehealth practitioners are properly trained and that they only provide care within their scope of practice. It also amends current law governing telemedicine. In general, SCPC supports legislation to reduce patient costs, make it easier for healthcare professionals to provide services, and expand access to care, though the impact of this bill is not yet clear. Update: The Senate Medical Affairs Committee amended and passed the bill. It now moves to the 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. Status: A Senate Medical Affairs subcommittee considers the bill on Wednesday, Jan. 17. 


  • Teacher work experience (S.305) – This bill would allow individuals 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: The bill was set for special order, giving it priority on the calendar when senators return next week. 

  • Mandatory alcohol training course (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 servers, creating a new regulatory regime for all alcohol servers is not the correct approach to this issue. Status: On the Senate floor, though it is currently contested.

  • Increased fees for new residents (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. Status: On the Senate floor, though it is currently contested.

  • Recycling tax deductions (H.4087) – This bill would lower the standards required for a recycling facility to claim a tax deduction. As a rule, South Carolina should prioritize broad and comprehensive tax cuts, not targeted breaks for specific industries or groups. Status: A Senate Finance subcommittee considers the bill on Tuesday, Jan. 16, at 3:30pm. For the full list of bills in the subcommittee, click here.

  • Property tax exemption for disabled veterans (H.3116) – This bill would allow veterans who became disabled because of a service-connected disability to immediately claim a property tax exemption for their owner-occupied property in the year in which the disability occurs. Status: A Senate Finance subcommittee considers the bill Tuesday, Jan. 16, at 3:00pm. For the full list of bills in the subcommittee, click here.    



As of Monday, Jan. 15, 20 of 25 House committee meetings are scheduled to be livestreamed, while six of eight Senate committee meetings are scheduled to be livestreamed. Unfortunately one of these meetings not scheduled to be livestreamed is a budgetary meeting. 



The legislative budget process starts with state agencies presenting their spending requests for the upcoming fiscal year to various House budget subcommittees. Lawmakers will use the information gathered at these meetings to write the first draft of the budget. The following subcommittees meet this week:

  • Transportation and Regulatory subcommittee 1/16/24 upon House adjournment, 1/17/24 at 10am, and 1/18/2024 upon House adjournment – Hearing from the Public Service Commission, Office of Regulatory Staff, Department of Insurance, and the Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulations on Jan. 16. Hearing from the Department of Transportation, the Department of Motor Vehicles, and the State Transportation Infrastructure Bank on Jan. 17. Hearing from the Department of Consumer Affairs, the Human Affairs Commission, the Commission for Minority Affairs, and the Worker’s Compensation Commission on Jan. 18. (livestream here)

  • Economic Development subcommittee 1/16/24 thirty minutes after adjournment & 1/17/24 at 9:30 AM – Hearing from the Department of Archives & History, SC Arts Commission, and SC Housing on Jan. 16; and the Clemson PSA, Department of Agriculture, SC State PSA, and the Forestry Commission on Jan. 17. (livestream here)

  • Criminal Justice subcommittee 1/16/24 at 3:30 PM  & 1/17/24 at 10 AM – Hearing from the Law Enforcement Training Council, Department of Public Safety, SLED, and the Department of Corrections. (livestream here)

  • Constitutional subcommittee 1/17/24 at 9:30 AM – Hearing from the State Fiscal Accountability Authority and the Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office on Jan. 16; and the State Election Commission, State Retirement System Investment Commission, and the Public Employee Benefit Authority on Jan. 17. (livestream here)