South Carolina statehouse grounds

Update 3/10/23: Several adjustments were made to this summary to reflect developments that occurred during the week.

House lawmakers are seeking public input on a broad college and workforce readiness bill on Tuesday afternoon. On Wednesday, the House Ways and Means Committee presents the initial draft of the state budget to legislators and citizens, a meeting we will be watching closely.  

  • H.4060 – This broad education bill is primarily designed to encourage students to attend college and be ready to enter the workforce. It states that dual enrollment opportunities must be made available to all qualifying students, and requires (with some flexibility)  high school seniors to apply for college financial aid before graduating. Additionally, it would make information on the “economic value” of college majors available online to the public, as determined by the Department of Employment and Workforce. The full House Education and Public Works Committee is taking public comment on the bill Tuesday after House adjournment. Update: The bill was advanced by the committee.
  • S.305 – This bill would allow individuals who have at least five years of qualifying education experience to count that experience when obtaining a teaching certificate, which would entitle them to better pay. A Senate Education subcommittee will consider the bill Thursday at 9 AM.
  • S.285 –  Known as the “ACE” program, this bill would drastically overhaul and expand South Carolina’s privately funded K-12 scholarship program. It would provide scholarships to four different student categories: (1) students with disabilities; (2) students from low-income families; (3) homeschool students; and (4) students generally. Scholarships could be used to pay for private school tuition and fees, or other education-related expenses, including homeschool expenses, depending on the student. This bill is on the Senate floor and could be voted on this week. Read our analysis of the proposal here. Update: Senators debated the bill on Wednesday but it was not taken for a vote. We will update this summary once a vote is taken.
  • S.361 – This bill would remove a requirement that the SCDOT Commission give approval before construction contracts can be extended, which will cut down on government red tape and help speed up road work projects. This bill is on the House floor and could be voted on this week. Update: The House passed the bill unanimously on Wednesday. It now heads to the governor’s desk.

  • 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. This bill is on the Senate floor. Note: a previous version of this summary incorrectly stated the bill would subject these facilities to CON requirements, which has since been updated. Update: The Senate passed the bill unanimously on Thursday.

  • S.483 – This bill would require that closing fees be prominently displayed with the advertised price of vehicles for sale at dealerships. It would also make changes to Department of Consumer Affairs procedure, including requiring the department to provide more information before issuing a cease and desist to businesses. The Senate Banking and Insurance Committee considers the bill Wednesday at 11 AM. Update: This meeting has been postponed until next Wednesday, Mar. 15.

Government transparency 

As of Tuesday morning, 21 of 35 of the House and Senate legislative committee meetings this week are scheduled to be livestreamed. Of the two Senate budget meetings, only one is being livestreamed.  This is an improvement from last week and a step in the right direction when it comes to transparency. Under a recent House bill inspired by SCPC’s research, all legislative committee meetings would have to be livestreamed. 

Here you can find the full list of House and Senate meetings for the week. 

State budget 

The House Ways and Means Committee meets Wednesday afternoon to present the committee’s initial budget draft, which it passed last month, to legislators and the public. This budget planning document indicates the full House will begin debate on the budget next week. In January, SCPC released a report urging lawmakers to keep next year’s spending less than the rate of population and inflation growth. 

Senate Finance Constitutional subcommittee

  • 3/7/23 4:00  PM – Hearing from the Comptroller General about his office’s $3.5 billion accounting error. (learn more here) (video archive here)

Senate Finance K-12 Education subcommittee

  • 3/8/23 9:00 AM – Hearing from the South Carolina Department of Education and the South Carolina Office of First Steps. (video archive here)

Senate Natural Resources & Economic Development subcommittee

  • 3/8/23 9:15  AM – Hearing from the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation and the Housing Finance & Development Authority. (livestream not scheduled)

Previous Weeks