Senate lawmakers discuss several bills during final week of session

COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO) — With just two more days of the legislative session to go, lawmakers are trying to get as much done as possible.

However, there’s a lot on the calendar yet to be discussed.

“The budget. I mean I figure we all know the budget has to get past. I think election reform would be second. People experience that chance to vote early because of COVID. They liked it,” said Sen. Brad Hutto of Orangeburg.

However, there is one piece of legislation that the Democrat minority leader would have liked to see taken up in the Senate.

“Hate crimes bill,” Hutto said. “The House passed that and it came to the Senate. We have not been able to take that up and that’s unfortunate. We’re one of two states that does not have a hate crimes bill.”

The changes the Senate made to the Save Women’s Sports Act passed in the House. Now, the House will take a look at changes to the Medical Ethics and Diversity Act, also known as the medical conscience bill.

“Physicians wouldn’t be able to refuse care for a patient,” said Sen. Larry Grooms, a Republican from Bonneau. “A physician would be able to say, ‘That procedure, I’m not going to do. Other procedures I will.’ It would be very limited as to the number of procedures.”

One bill that did pass the Senate but was not even voted on in the House was the medical marijuana bill.

“The House ruled it out of order on the technical ground that it raises revenue. It only raises revenue in the sense that you have to pay for the permits to administer the program,” Hutto said. “The House ruled differently in this case and so they never got to vote on it. I think the numbers are there and the House would have passed it overwhelmingly.”

Lawmakers are allowed to return to the statehouse to discuss certain bills, vetoes and appointments in June and are expected to also reconvene if a Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade is made.

After June 15th through the 17th, we could come back into session on June 28th to deal with most likely budget vetoes,” said Sen. Shane Massey, majority leader. “There could be other vetoes, but that’s basically the purpose of that session. We could be here until June 30th.”

The current session continues Wednesday and Thursday.


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