Several important bills made progress at the Statehouse this week, some of which we are thrilled to say are critical reforms on our legislative agenda.  


After weeks of debate, the Senate finally passed the education scholarship bill (S.39), which would offer publicly funded scholarships to middle- and low-income K-12 students to pay for private school tuition and other education expenses, such as textbooks, computers, tutoring and transportation costs. As reported by The Nerve, the bill in its current form would provide $6,000 scholarships per pupil for up to 5,000 students in the 2024-25 school year, with the number of students eventually reaching 15,000 in the 2026-27 school year.  

Our January poll found that 60% of likely SC voters said they approve of an education scholarship program for low-income students. We found similar support for the program in our June poll last year.  

Medical freedom

A day after passing S.39, the Senate advanced another critical piece of legislation (S.164) to repeal Certificate of Need (CON) requirements for most state healthcare providers. CON requires hospitals and other healthcare entities to go through an extensive regulatory approval process before constructing new facilities or purchasing certain equipment. It also allows competitors to challenge the requests, which can delay much-needed medical centers for years.  

Research shows that states with CON tend to have fewer hospitals in rural areas, and that overall hospital quality in these states is lower. It also shows higher mortality rates for pneumonia, heart failure, and heart attacks in states with at least one CON regulation.  

The bill in its current form would still require CON approval for nursing homes, hospital acquisitions made by the Medical University of South Carolina, and ambulatory surgery centers with more than eight operating rooms. The Senate gave third reading to the bill on Thursday, which now heads to the House. 


Meanwhile, the House unanimously passed a bill (H.3614) that would prohibit a public utility from retaliating against an employee who reports wrongdoing to the Office of Regulatory Staff. Whistleblowers are often critical to identifying potential abuse and corruption. The chamber also unanimously passed a bill (H.3605) that would remove barriers to obtaining a work license by preventing licensing boards from using vague terminology for evaluation purposes, along with other positive changes.