Senate majority and minority leaders weigh in on legislative goals on first day of session

COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO) — State lawmakers were back in session Tuesday beginning at noon.

Members of the House and Senate returned to the statehouse to begin this year’s legislative session with items already waiting to be discussed.

“Yeah, there is a lot on the plate this year,” said Sen. Shane Massey, Republican majority leader. 

Tuesday, state senators stated that the first topic debated will be the certificate of need legislation.

 “It really goes to the heart of healthcare, healthcare access and the cost of healthcare across the state,” Massey said. “We’re looking forward to a good conversation there. That’s probably going to take a couple of days.”

Another topic is already next in line for discussion.

“We’re going to have a debate this year about medical marijuana,” Massey said. “I think all of us expect that to happen as well.”

State lawmakers will also work on redistricting. Members from both parties additionally hope to tackle education policy as well.

“This pandemic has set us behind in education. I know it’s affected businesses and everybody else, but it’s really affected our schools and our children. Test scores are down,” said Sen. Brad Hutto, Democrat minority leader.

In addition to all the other subjects due to be discussed this legislative session, remains the topic of vaccine mandates, which could require state lawmakers to weigh in on.

“My preference is that we wouldn’t have to engage in this, but my preference is that businesses would not make us engage in this,” Massey said. “I think there are plenty of ways to incentivize and encourage people to do things than to mandate them or fire them.”

“Business has always asked us to let them run business and keep the government out of business. That’s what I’d like to do in this situation,” Hutto said. ” think each business owner knows what’s best for his business, clientele and client base. We’d let business run business if it were up to me.”

For the time being, lawmakers are waiting for a ruling by the Supreme Court.

They are also waiting on opening the topic of spending until possibly next month.

 “There will be a number of other issues too,” Massey said. “We still have some federal money we have to address. January is already full and we’re already starting to think about February.”

Categories: Local News, Richland