Palmetto Sunrise: Legislature goes home

The South Carolina House of Representatives is empty after the end of the legislative session. Grace Beahm/Staff/File photo

COLUMBIA — The first regular session of South Carolina’s 121st General Assembly came to an end on Thursday at 5 p.m., in different ways in both chambers.

After spending at least an hour at ease waiting for potential Senate bills House members were so excited to go home, they counted down to 5 p.m., as if it were New Year’s Eve. You know, “5, 4, 3...” that sort of countdown.

The Senate, however, was in the process of racing through bills it had not gotten to in recent weeks because of filibusters. Senate President Pro Tempore Sen. Hugh Leatherman, R-Florence, stood up, informed the chamber that they were 30-something seconds past 5 p.m., and that it was time to adjourn. And so members in both chambers went home.

But they did so without passing the budget, the capital reserve bill, another budget-related bill that deals with the state’s extra cash it collected above projections, a permanent fix for South Carolina’s nagging road problems, and no ethics reform.

Some of those issues will be tackled when they return on the week of June 16 for a special session, such as budget-related matters and bills that have passed both chambers, but have not been ratified because lawmakers are still hammering out differences in conference. But they can’t tackle issues such as the roads funding and ethics reform. That will just have to wait another year.

In other news:

Signing ushers in stiffer penalties, gun ban for domestic violence crimes (The Post and Courier)

Body camera bill on its way to South Carolina governor (The Associated Press)

SC considers possible pipeline-related laws (The Augusta Chronicle)

Aiken County ice storm relief funds remain in question as session adjourns (The Aiken Standard)

White House says Medicaid expansion in South Carolina would save lives (The Post and Courier)

Census income data: 1 in 6 people in South Carolina live below poverty line (The Island Packet)

First refugees arrive in Spartanburg despite questions raised by Gowdy (Herald-Journal)

Mike Huckabee coming to Tim Scott town hall in July (The State)

China suspected in massive breach of federal personnel data (The Associated Press)