Sine Die, Extended Session
Thursday marked what is known as Sine Die – or “without days” –, the traditional deadline for passing legislation during regular session of the legislature. During the week of Sine Die, there is typically a flood of legislation passed, and this week was no different. As of today, there are three categories of legislation: 1) Bills that passed both the House and Senate by the Thursday Sine Die deadline; 2) Bills that did not pass in both the House and Senate before the Sine Die deadline; 3) Bills that did not pass both the House and Senate before the Sine Die deadline, but were included in a resolution passed this week giving the legislature the authority to revisit them.
Legislation that puts a referendum on the November ballot which asks voters if they approve of making the South Carolina superintendent of education a gubernatorial appointment, rather than an elected position, passed the Senate this week and is expected to be signed by Governor McMaster. If voters approve, the governor of South Carolina will have the authority to appoint the superintendent of education for the first time in 2022 and the final election for the positon would take place this November.
My Republican House colleagues and I are disappointed the Senate did not act on several critical bills the House passed earlier this year. The House passed legislation on April 5ththat increased penalties for individuals who commit, plan, or assist an act of terror. The Senate decided not to allow this legislation to be voted on. Despite employers voicing the need to find workers with computer science and science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) skills, the Senate refused to pass a bill proposed by Speaker Jay Lucas to form a curriculum for this in our public schools. The failure of the Senate to help our students learn the skills for the jobs of the future is unfortunate. Another disappointment was the Senate’s failure to pass the House bill that would make dismemberment abortions illegal in the state of South Carolina. Pro-abortion Democrats led a filibuster in the Senate that doomed this reform.
The third category of bills are those which will be revisited later this month due to being included in a bill passed this week giving the legislature the authority to do so. H.5383, also known as the “Sine Die Resolution” states the legislature will continue session on May 23rdand May 24thto address the yet-to-be-passed budget and the V.C. Summer nuclear fiasco. At stake in the continuing budget negotiations are teacher raises, school safety, prison security and correctional officer raises, the state pension system, assistance to our agriculture industry, and tax relief. During this time the House and Senate will also need to complete their work involving the failed V.C. Summer nuclear project. This week the Senate rejected the House’s plan to forbid SCE&G from charging customers an 18% nuclear surcharge to cover the costs of the failed V.C. nuclear project. House members believe it is wrong to make customers foot the bill for a project that was never completed and passed legislation to completely eliminate the surcharge. The Senate believes ratepayers should still be on the hook for a 5% monthly surcharge.
It is an honor and a privilege to serve you in Columbia. If you need help navigating state government, or have any thoughts or concerns about what we are doing, please do not hesitate to contact me.