Update 2/10/23: Some bills listed below have been updated to note if they passed during their committee meeting. Additionally, some budget subcommittee hearings have been added that were not originally scheduled on Feb. 7.

The Senate last week passed two important bills. The first (S.39) 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. The second (S.164) would repeal Certificate of Need requirements for most state healthcare providers. 

Meanwhile, the House last week passed H.3614 which would prohibit a public utility from retaliating against an employee who reports wrongdoing to the Office of Regulatory Staff.  The bill has since been sent to the senate and referred to the Judiciary committee.  

  • S.285 – This bill, known as the “PACE” program, would drastically overhaul and expand South Carolina’s privately funded K-12 scholarship program. Under PACE, most K-12 students would be eligible for a limited number of scholarships to attend private school or pay for home school expenses, with some scholarship funding specifically reserved for low-income and special needs students. Scholarship donors would receive an income tax credit based on their contribution amount. A Senate Finance subcommittee is considering the bill at 3PM on Tuesday. Update: The subcommittee plans to continue working on this bill and will schedule another hearing on it in the near future.
  • H.3591 – A state constitutional amendment to repeal the prohibition on the state providing direct aid to religious or other private schools. A House Judiciary subcommittee is considering the bill at 9AM on Thursday. Update: This bill was passed by the subcommittee.
  • H.3797 – Clarifying that a pupil meets residency requirements for school if his/her parent is transferred or pending transfer to a military base within the state. A House 3-M subcommittee is considering the bill at 9AM on Thursday. 
  • H.3747 – Removing a requirement that the SCDOT Commission give approval before extra work can be added to construction contracts. This change should help expedite road work projects by cutting down on government red tape. A House Transportation subcommittee will consider the bill Thursday at 3PM. Note: The Senate Transportation Committee advanced a similar bill (S.361) last month. 
Government transparency 
  • S.134 – This bill would require all South Carolina school boards to livestream their meetings and post the video recordings online, a policy recommended in our recent transparency report. The Senate Education Committee is considering the bill at 10AM on Wednesday. Update: This bill was passed by the full committee and is now on the Senate floor.
  • This week appears to have the most unstreamed meetings of the year so far, with four House and seven Senate legislative and/or budget committee hearings not scheduled for livestreaming. A recently filed bill inspired by SCPC’s transparency research would require all legislative meetings to be livestreamed.
State budget

Senate Criminal Justice budget subcommittee

  • 2/8/23 8:45 AM – Hearing from the Department of Probation, Pardon and Parole and Department of Juvenile Justice (livestream not scheduled)

Senate Higher Education budget subcommittee

  • 2/7/23 9:30 AM – Hearing from the Technical Colleges System and Medical University of South Carolina (livestream not scheduled) 
  • 2/9/23 9:30 AM – Hearing from the Area Health Education Consortium and Winthrop University (livestream not scheduled) 

House Healthcare budget subcommittee

  • 2/7/23 One hour after House adjournment – Hearing from the Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services, General Provisos and Member Requests (livestream not scheduled)

House Public Education and Special Schools budget subcommittee

  • 2/7/23 1.5 hours after House adjournment – Provisos (livestream not scheduled)

Senate Constitutional budget subcommittee

  • 2/9/23 9:30 AM – Hearing from the Attorney General, Election Commission, and Comptroller General 

House Transportation and Regulatory budget subcommittee

  • 2/7/23 1.5 hours after House adjournment – Hearing from the Department of Employment and Workforce, All Provisos, and Member Requests

House Economic Development budget subcommittee

  • 2/7/23 1.5 hours after House adjournment – Hearing from the Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism, Office of Resilience, Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport, Charleston International Airport, and Provisos

Senate K-12 Education budget subcommittee

  • 2/9/23 10:00 AM – Hearing from Governor’s School for Science and Math, Governor’s School for Arts and Humanities, the Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum, and Wil Lou Gray  (livestream not scheduled) 

Senate Natural Resources & Economic Development budget subcommittee

  • 2/9/23 9:15 AM – Hearing from Clemson University PSA and SC State PSA (livestream not scheduled)