Legislative Updates

From the State House: March 18

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WRITTEN BY lclark 2 years ago

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Last week, the South Carolina House debated the 2015-2016 state budget on the floor for 30+ hours from Monday afternoon until Thursday night. There were many delays during the week, mostly stemming from Governor Haley’s objection to a nearly $500 million bond package attached to the budget. As supporters of the bond package tried for several days to keep the votes needed for passage, their efforts came up short and the bonding projects were removed from the budget late Thursday. The demise of the bond package was a huge blow to Trident Technical College’s South Carolina Aeronautical Training Center, removing $40 million in funding for this critical project. However, Trident Tech will receive $20 million from the state’s Capital Reserve Fund. The budget will face a third reading this week and our lobbying efforts will be in full swing to push the House Ways and Means Committee to hold subcommittee meetings on the infrastructure funding bills. The Senate Education committee met to debate Senator Tom Young’s bill which complies with federal legislation by allowing in-state tuition for retired or discharged military personnel or their dependents. The committee, on Senator Brad Hutto’s recommendation, approved an amendment mirroring the federal legislation, which places a limit on benefit eligibility, requiring it to be used within three years of discharge date. The bill, one of the South Carolina Military Base Task Force's legislative priorities, now goes to the Senate floor. Finally, the Senate Finance Transportation Funding Special Subcommittee met briefly last Tuesday and moved to scrap other legislation previously proposed by members of the committee and Senate. Instead Chairman Cleary would like to create legislation with the consensus of the subcommittee. Senator Joel Lourie suggested a four cent increase in the motor fuel user fee per year for five years and most agreed with his suggestion. However, just as the members were agreeing on the amount to increase the state’s 16.75 cent motor fuel user fee, a ventilation fan in the parking garage below the Gressette apparently caught on fire, sounding the fire alarm and causing the building to be evacuated. Senator Cleary cancelled the remainder of the meeting. The committee meets again on Tuesday, hopefully without the intrusion of fire alarms this time.  
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