Statehouse Update Mar 26-28

Statehouse Update Mar 26-28

Update 3/28/24: Several adjustments were made to this summary to reflect developments that occurred during the week.

Heads up! South Carolina’s “crossover” deadline is swiftly approaching. By April 10, any bills that haven't passed at least one chamber, House or Senate, are effectively dead for the year. With the deadline looming, one can expect a mad dash at the Statehouse to get bills to the other side.  

On that front, a massive energy proposal could see debate on the House floor this week. Among other concerns, the bill puts broadly defined economic development needs at the center of ratemaking decisions, which could clash with consumer interests. It also looks to offer reduced electric rates and special perks to companies meeting certain job and investment criteria. 

Last week, the House passed a bill to expand access to South Carolina’s Education Scholarship Account (ESA) program. Key changes include phasing out income restrictions for participating students and lifting the cap on enrollment, in line with SCPC’s policy recommendations. ESAs provide scholarships that families can use on a wide range of K-12 expenses. Read more about the bill here.  

As of Tuesday morning, there are no bills on the House committee calendar relating to judicial reform scheduled for a hearing. Last week, the Senate unanimously passed a bill making improvements to judicial selections. Be sure to follow us on X (formerly Twitter) for real-time updates


  • Energy omnibus bill (H.5118) – Inserts economic development language into the missions of state utility regulators; grows government by creating a new “Energy Policy Institute”; creates a new “Energy Investment and Economic Development Fund” housed within Santee Cooper; and transfers the Consumer Advocate’s authority to intervene in rate-hike proceedings to another agency. See more in our analysis. Update: Given third reading and sent to the Senate.


  • DEI prohibition (H.4289) When it comes to admissions or employment decisions, this bill would prohibit colleges and universities from conditioning admissions or benefits to applicants based on their support of diversity, equity or inclusion (DEI) factors. Update: Given third reading and sent to the Senate.

  • Private school sports participation (S.150 & S.161) – These bills would allow, under certain circumstances, for students at private schools to participate in athletics at public schools. StatusA Senate Education subcommittee considers the bills at 10am on Wednesday.

  • Fairer liability system (S.533) – This bill would require juries or judges to consider nonparties in addition to defendants when determining fault in civil cases. It also strikes an existing rule that, under certain circumstances, allows businesses or individuals to be held fully liable for legal damages even if they are just 1% at fault for an injury. These changes would result in fewer South Carolina businesses paying excessive and disproportionate damage awards in civil cases. Learn more about this issue here. UpdateThe bill has been enrolled for special order, giving it priority on the Senate calendar.

  • Insurance premiums study committee (S.844) – This joint resolution would create a study committee to examine South Carolina’s civil liability and insurance laws, particularly as they relate to the issue of rising liability insurance premiums. While we welcome debate on this issue, creating a study committee would likely delay progress on existing bills, such as S.533. Update: The Senate Judiciary Committee reported favorably. The bill now moves to the Senate Floor.


  • Recycling tax deductions (H.4087) – This bill would lower the standards required for a recycling facility to claim a tax deduction. In general, South Carolina should prioritize broad and comprehensive tax cuts, not targeted breaks for specific industries or groups. Status: A Senate Finance subcommittee considers this bill on Tuesday at 9:30am.

  • Clinical rotation tax deduction (H.5225) – This bill would create an income tax reduction for physicians, advance practice nurses, and physician assistants related to clinical rotations. Update: Received second reading in the House on Thursday.

  • Dependent care (H.4561) – This bill would allow for candidates or public officials to use campaign funds for personal expenses relating to dependent care or supervision. Update: Debate adjourned until 4/9/2024. 


As of Monday afternoon, 10 of the 15 House committee meetings are scheduled to be livestreamed, while only six of the 14 Senate committee meetings are scheduled to be livestreamed. 

Unfortunately, just one of three budget subcommittee hearings are set to be livestreamed. To view the full committee calendar (showing which meetings are, and are not, being streamed), click here.



The following budget subcommittees meet this week:

  • Criminal Justice subcommittee (Senate) 3/27/24 at 9am – Hearing on provisos request (provisos are effectively mini-laws in the budget that direct how dollars should be spent.)

  • K-12 subcommittee (Senate) 3/27/24 at 9am – Hearing from Charter Institute at Erskine, and provisos.

  • Natural Resources & Economic Development subcommittee (Senate) 3/28/24 at 9:30 – Hearing from the Department of Commerce, the Rural Infrastructure Authority, the Office of Resilience, and the Department of Insurance.