HomeLearning CenterWill They Pass? 5 SC Bills to Watch as Legislative Session Comes to a Close

Will They Pass? 5 SC Bills to Watch as Legislative Session Comes to a Close

Originally published by Joseph Bustos for The State

With a handful of days remaining in this year’s legislative session, here are five bills to watch and their chances of passing.

The session’s last day is May 9, even though lawmakers are planning to come back June 5 to hold a state supreme court election, and after the legislative primary elections to finish up work on the budget.

Bills that don’t cross the finish lines by 5 p.m. May 9 will be dead for the session, unless they’re in a conference committee, or lawmakers decide to take up with a two-thirds vote of each chamber later in the year. However, lawmakers have indicated they don’t plan to come back unless they need to respond to an emergency.

ENERGY BILL

A bill meant to help the state meet growing energy needs in the future has been a top priority of the House this session. The House hopes the Senate takes up the bill and send it back so a conference committee can be started.

But Senate Majority Leader Shane Massey asked the bill be delayed until the fall to allow for further study.

But state Sen. Tom Davis, R-Beaufort, is trying to push a smaller version of the energy bill to see if it could address concerns of lawmakers that the larger piece of legislation moved too quickly. If Davis is successful, that may set the bill up for an eventual conference committee to keep the legislation alive this year.

House Republicans are trying another tactic to force the bill into conference committee. State Rep. Bill Sandifer, chairman of the Labor, Commerce and Industry Committee attached the bill to several Senate bills, including one dealing with suicide prevention training, a bill dealing with pharmacies service organizations, a bill dealing with anti-money laundering, and a bill on professional counseling.

MAKING THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL AN APPOINTED POSITION

Following last year’s disclosure of a $3.5 billion accounting error, senators in a 42-0 wanted the governor to appoint the comptroller general rather than voters electing a comptroller every four years.

Making it an appointed position requires voter approval because it would make change to the constitution.

The comptroller general serves as the state’s top accountant.

When the bill moved to the House, however, it stalled and has not moved out of the House Judiciary committee, as the committee has had to deal with about 475 bills.

“We’ve got a limited amount of time which we can move forward,” said House Judiciary Chairman Weston Newton, R-Beaufort. “Obviously the various caucuses that identify what their priorities are and we try to work and address as many of those priority items that we can so and nothing substantive in particular against the bill. I may even be a co-sponsor of it, but that doesn’t mean whether I am or not, that it accelerates whether it moves or not.”

Former Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom resigned last year and was replaced by Brian Gaines. When Eckstrom ran for reelection in 2022, he was unopposed and received 98% of the vote.

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