It’s three weeks until the legislature’s “crossover date” — the May 1 deadline for bills from one chamber to be approved in time to be considered by the second without the need of a supermajority just to take it up.
State senators may resume the seemingly forgotten, long-stalled debate to make major changes to state ethics laws. Most of the rough spots have been smoothed, but the major sticking point still seems to be whether the state Ethics Commission will become more independent with new powers to look into the legislature or whether lawmakers will try to continue to be part of the review process.
Staff reports | After a week spent grappling with and approving a $7.5 billion state budget, House members will take off the next two weeks, meeting again on April 12. The Senate, meanwhile, will be in perfunctory session next week — meaning local, uncontested bills can move forward, but senators really won’t meet to consider anything major.
House members on Monday will start long hours of deliberations on the state’s $7.5 billion budget of general tax revenues for the 2016-17 year. Allocations include up to $1.2 billion in surplus revenues from the past year. For a discussion of what’s in the budget this year, take a look at our March 4 story.
On the surface of the General Assembly, next week might look kind of dull. But there will be lots of nervous back and forth as filing for legislative seats opens for two weeks at noon on March 16. Filing ends March 30.
House members will start floor consideration of six of eight education reform bills filed earlier this year in response to the pending final ruling in the Abbeville education equity lawsuit.
State representatives next week will take the first of three weeks of furlough during this year’s session. They’re expected to also take off the last week of March and first week of April. Meanwhile, the Senate’s furlough schedule isn’t set in stone yet, but senators probably won’t work the Thursday before Easter, which is March 27, and the following week.
State senators are expected to start floor debate Tuesday on a multi-billion-dollar bill to repair the state’s crumbling transportation structure. As outlined in this story, there are three issues that need to be addressed for a deal: the amount of a gas tax increase, whether to cut the state’s income tax and how to reform the state Department of Transportation. Also next week, senators may take up debate again on beachfront management rules, spurred by controversy surrounding development of Captain Sam’s Spit at Kiawah Island.