Despite the regular legislative session having concluded last week, the General Assembly failed to pass the a state budget for the upcoming fiscal year. In addition, the General Assembly did not pass a sine die resolution, which normally governs when the Legislature can return and what issues it can take up. This has left it to the governor to dictate the Legislature's return, who immediately called for a session continuation.
The special session was called so that lawmakers could address three outstanding issues: the budget, abortion, and criminal justice reform.
The House is set to begin debate on the abortion bill (S.474) starting Tuesday, which would effectively ban abortion after six weeks of pregnancy, with certain exceptions. House Speaker Murrell Smith is insistent that they will get through the bill.
- H.4300 & H.4301 – A conference committee will take up these bills on Tuesday at 2 PM. These two bills are the appropriations for the state budget. Billions of dollars are allocated to various state departments in these documents. SCPC published a breakdown of both the House and Senate versions of the budgets. Read the full report here. The Nerve, SCPC's investigative news site also released a report detailing many of the earmarks listed throughout the budget. Read the full report here.
- S.343 – This bill would exempt all crisis stabilization unit facilities from Certificate of Need (CON) requirements. Currently, only these facilities which are operated by or in partnership with the Department of Mental Health, and offer services to adults, are exempt from CON. The bill is on the House floor this week.
- S.96 – This bill would make a state boating course mandatory for everyone operating a boat that was born after July 1st 2007. Currently a safety course is only mandatory for those operating a boat under the age of 16 who are unaccompanied by an adult. The bill is on the House floor this week.
- H.3811 – This bill would increase the industry partnership fund tax credit from $9 million to $12 million. The bill is on the House floor this week.
- H.3880 – This bill would prevent taxes from being charged or collected on annual or monthly dues paid to a golf club. Targeted sales tax exemptions such as this only further complicate our tax code and should be avoided. The bill is on the House floor this week.
- H.3728 – This bill prohibits several concepts generally associated with critical race theory (CRT) from being taught in K-12 public schools. Among the prohibited concepts is the teaching that one ethnic/racial group is morally superior or inferior to another. The bill is on the House floor this week.
As of Tuesday morning, both of the scheduled conference committee meetings are scheduled to be livestreamed this week. Under a February House bill inspired by SCPC’s research, all legislative committee meetings would have to be livestreamed.