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SC Legislature

  • The South Carolina Supreme Court has ruled a state law preventing anyone from moving a Confederate monument or changing the historical name of a street or building without the Legislature's permission is legal. But in the same ruling Wednesday, the justices struck down a requirement that two-thirds of the General Assembly must approve a move or name change. The ruling keeps intact South Carolina's Heritage Act. The 2000 law has prevented colleges and local governments from removing Confederate monuments or the names of segregationists from buildings. Lawmakers have refused to even take up any requests to remove monuments over the past few years even as other Southern cities act.
  • Health care workers and educators in South Carolina are doubling down on calls for lawmakers to roll back a provision that bans masks in schools. Pediatricians, school nurses and teachers on Tuesday described the toll the coronavirus pandemic is taking on students and in children's hospitals. They want lawmakers to repeal a state rule that prevents school districts from using state money to enforce a rule requiring masks. More than 88,000 students and staff have been quarantined this school year so far. Schools have recorded nearly 21,000 COVID-19 cases this fall, almost 7,000 more than they counted all of last year.
  • South Carolina's highest court will hear two challenges to the state's refusal to let school districts require masks for students and teachers this week. The state Supreme Court has set aside two hours to hear the cases Tuesday. South Carolina lawmakers passed an item in the state budget in June threatening school districts with losing state money if they required masks. The local governments involved in the cases are Columbia and Richland 2 schools. They will likely argue that requiring or banning masks has no place in the state budget, a bill whose purpose is to raise and spend money. South Carolina law requires legislation to have one clear subject.
  • A growing number of school districts in South Carolina are defying a provision from state lawmakers banning mandatory face coverings for students. But not all. Many districts are afraid the General Assembly will withhold state budget money if they do so. Lawmakers passed the ban mostly along party lines in June, when the state was seeing 20 times fewer new COVID-19 cases. Many districts and some lawmakers with second thoughts hope a state Supreme Court challenge to the mask rule will make things clearer. But there is no indication when the justices might rule.
  • South Carolina's health agency has become the latest group to ask lawmakers to make it clear that school districts can require students to wear masks without losing state budget money or any other penalties. The General Assembly put the mask ban item into the budget in early June when South Carolina was seeing an average of 150 COVID-19 cases a day. Ten weeks later, the state is seeing about 3,520 new cases each day.
  • Some school districts and counties, and the City of Columbia have defied the state prohibition and ordered mask mandates in schools sparking growing pressure on the General Assembly to meet to repeal the prohibition.
  • A group of South Carolina senators are winding up their public hearings about how to draw new districts for South Carolina House and Senate seats as well as the U.S. House.
  • The only South Carolina lawmaker to go to prison so far in a recent Statehouse corruption investigation is no longer an attorney. The state Supreme Court says former state Rep. Jim Harrison agreed to give up his law license without a fight
  • The state's top prosecutor says the University of South Carolina can't lawfully require students and staff to wear face coverings on campus this fall, despite increasing cases of coronavirus, thanks to recent legislative action. University officials said last week they would require "face coverings to be worn at all times inside all campus buildings" except dorms, private offices or dining halls.
  • South Carolina's nearly $11 billion budget was sent to Gov. Henry McMaster's desk on Monday as lawmakers cut close the deadline to get the spending plan in place before it begins July 1.