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SC Legislature

  • Some South Carolina lawmakers who oppose abortion are being cautious when it comes to tightening the state's already restrictive laws even further. The U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June, paving the way for states to enact total bans if they choose to do so. South Carolina currently has a law banning abortion after cardiac activity is detected, at about six weeks of pregnancy. Lawmakers called a special session after the high court's decision in June to discuss the issue. But some are hesitating after seeing voters in conservative Kansas overwhelmingly reject a measure that would allow the legislature to tighten restrictions or enact a total ban.
  • The new law lets health care providers refuse nonemergency care that conflicts with their religious, moral or ethical beliefs. Supporters say it protects doctors, nurses and medical students from being forced to violate their conscience. However, critics call the law a license to discriminate, especially against LGBTQ people.
  • State lawmakers finalized next year’s record setting state budget this week. The spending plan now goes to the Governor.
  • A $13.8 billion budget that sends hundreds of dollars of rebates to many South Carolina taxpayers and also cuts their income tax rates is on its way to Gov Henry McMaster's desk.
  • At least four Republican South Carolina House members lost their reelection bids in Tuesday's primaries with a few other facing runoffs or margins so slim they will need recounts.
  • The South Carolina lawmakers negotiating big gaps between the House and Senate versions of the state budget have received a big gift as the state's economy continued to do better than predicted. Economists meeting Tuesday predicted that South Carolina can now expect to have about $950 million more in its bank accounts by the end of June from taxes and other revenue. The House and Senate are about $1.3 billion apart on their budget plans with the biggest difference a $1 billion rebate senators want to send back to taxpayers.
  • South Carolina's Republican governor has quietly signed into law a bill that would ban transgender students from playing girls' or women's sports in public schools and colleges. Gov. Henry McMaster's signature Monday means South Carolina joins about a dozen other states that have passed similar laws requiring transgender students to compete with the gender listed on their birth certificates. McMaster didn't issue a statement after signing the bill, but said earlier this month he thought "girls ought to play girls and the boys ought to play boys. That's the way we've always done it." Opponents of the law say it singles out students who aren't elite athletes but are just looking for a way to be a regular student.
  • State lawmakers adjourned without approving next year’s state operating budget, but they’ll return for a brief session next month to try and resolve House and Senate differences in the spending plan. Teacher salaries, employee pay raises, reductions in personal income tax rates, and how much or if any of $1 Billion in higher than expected tax revenues should be returned to tax filers in the form of rebates must be agreed to prior to the new fiscal year which begins July 1.
  • South Carolina senators have unanimously approved a compromise that would allow the state to hold true early voting. The House quickly approved the bill raising the possibility voters could head to the polls for two weeks before the June 14 primary. Senators decided Wednesday to add qualifications for election board members and the executive director and give legislative leaders permission to ask a court to let them kick out anyone who doesn't meet those requirements. They dropped their initial insistence for the Senate to approve the governor's appointments to the state election board. The governor will likely sign the bill and lawmakers say early voting could be in place by the end of May. State election officials didn't immediately respond to a question if that is possible.
  • South Carolina Supreme Court associate Justice Kaye Hearn has been elected to another six-year term. Hearn was one of more than three dozen judges put on the bench by the General Assembly on Wednesday. There were no contested races, but in several races at least a few House members and occasionally a few senators voted against the only candidate. Hearn, who became just the second woman ever on the state Supreme Court in 2010, won her latest term on a 122-13 vote. Lawmakers also voted for seats on the state Court of Appeals, Circuit Court and Family Court.