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SC Public Policy Update - January 16, 2015

January 16, 2015

The Nexsen Pruet State House Update is published as a service to our attorneys, clients, and friends.  It is intended to be a high level overview of the weekly activity at the South Carolina State House and does not constitute legal advice regarding any specific situation.

Firm clients who wish to receive individualized legislative updates, bill monitoring, or lobbying services may discuss options with Bob Coble.  He can be reached at 803-253-8211 or

What's New

The South Carolina General Assembly convened this week for the first year of the 121st Legislative Session. While the Senate and House of Representatives met for periods of time throughout the week, most of the week was dedicated to Inaugural festivities.

In the Senate, newly elected Senator, Ronnie Sabb (D-Williamsburg) was sworn in to fill a vacant seat. Senator Hugh Leatherman (R-Florence) was elected as President Pro Tempore and Senate officers were elected and sworn in. Committee and seat selections were made and all prefiled bills were referred to their respective committees.

As part of new government reform changes, a new Senate Legislative Oversight Committee was created. The President Pro Tempore, after consulting with the Standing Committee Chairmen and the Clerk of the Senate, determined that the Senate will schedule the following State agencies for Oversight Review during 2015:

• The Department of Mental Health;
• The Department of Employment and Workforce;
• The Administrative Law Court;
• The Forestry Commission;
• The Museum Commission;
• The Confederate Relic Room; and
• The Lieutenant Governor's Office on Aging.

The House of Representatives also had limited activity this week. Speaker Jay Lucas (R-Darlington) indicated the House will spend more time in Committees for the next three weeks to allow time for Committees to develop a legislative debate calendar.

The Speaker also announced the House will furlough the week before and week after Easter, for a total of two weeks.

The House also announced the State agencies that would be reviewed during the 2015 Session in the House Legislative Oversight Committee. They include:

• The Comptroller General’s Office;
• The Department of Consumer Affairs;
• First Steps;
• The Department of Juvenile Justice; and
• The Department of Social Service.

Both the Senate and House will reconvene next Tuesday, January 20, 2015.

On Wednesday, Governor Nikki Haley was sworn in for a second term. The other State Constitutional Officers, including newly elected Lt. Governor Henry McMaster and Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman, were also sworn in.

Also, for more details on the Inaugural festivities, please click here and here.