Palmetto Sunrise: Lawmakers welcome break but Groundhog Day when they return

The pace has been slow at the Statehouse this year. File/AP Photo/Mary Ann Chastain

Ethics. Roads. Domestic violence.

Every major and many minor issues that the Legislature sought to address in the first part of this year’s legislative session will be around when lawmakers return from a break. Call it a lot of studying with finals after vacation.

Before leaving Wednesday, the Senate took up a few issues — but they didn’t pass any major legislation and the Senate’s version of the state budget also awaits when they return. The glacial pace of the session comes amid a threat by Sen. Larry Martin to “retaliate” if the House doesn’t play ball on a domestic violence bill sent to that chamber by the Senate. Read: House priorities are going nowhere if House leaders don’t move Martin’s domestic violence bill,

The House is expected to debate its own domestic violence bill sometime after lawmakers return on April 14. Martin wants House members to take up and amend the Senate’s version — which House leaders so far have refused to do. Practically, it means that the House and Senate could hash out differences in a conference committee and move forward relatively quickly.

Martin says the Senate won’t have time this year for the House’s bill to make it through the committee process and then get another vote on the Senate floor. Check out Martin’s Biblical reference in explaining how common it is for a bill to pass the Senate twice in one year.

Sen. Larry Grooms, R-Charleston, said the 24 legislative days remaining when lawmakers return leave little wiggle room. It’s telling, he said, how the session began in January: talk of ethics and domestic violence reform as the must-do early priorities.

“The issues before the Senate are still ethics and criminal domestic violence,” he said.

In other news...

Senate advances education on domestic violence

20-week ban on abortion bill advances

Social services caseload is skyrocketing amid new scrutiny (AP)

Gov. Haley tours Iowa, presidential ambitions? #April 1