Palmetto Sunrise: One last shot at roads funding

Jay Lucas, Speaker of the House, said Tuesday the House has an appetite to continue to work on roads. (Tracy Glantz/The State via AP)

COLUMBIA — South Carolina’s House leadership is determined to give a fix for the state’s roads one final shot.

House Speaker Jay Lucas, R-Hartsville, and Majority Leader Rep. Bruce Bannister, R-Greenville, are expected to rally the troops behind a plan House Democrats announced last week. They plan to amend the resolution that called them back into session this week to include the House roads bill as one of the issues they must tackle.

Bannister said Tuesday that the Democratic Leadership’s proposal to give the Senate one last shot at tackling roads was a “great idea” they were running with, because enough members of the House would like to see the roads fixed.

“We’re going to give the Senate the opportunity to take up the House roads bill,” Bannister said. “And at least address the roads problem between now and January.”

The House passed a roads-funding plan in April that died in the Senate this legislative session after two procedural votes failed to place it in a priority status slot for discussion. A filibuster by Sen. Tom Davis, R-Beaufort, also prevented the chamber from reaching the bill before the official end of session on June 4.

On Tuesday, Sen. Joel Lourie, D-Columbia futilely attempted copy the plan House Democrats proposed, by requesting unanimous consent from his colleagues to amend the resolution. But if the House amends the resolution first, Senate rules would allow for a majority vote instead of unanimous consent. That gives the senators who would like to see the discussion on roads to be taken up an opportunity to tackle the issue, Bannister said.

House leadership will move to amend the resolution when they return at 10 a.m., today. It’ll be a bipartisan push that has already gained the support of enough Republicans and every Democrat in the House.

“It’s exciting that we both want to take up roads,” Lucas said. “We’ll see how it works out (Wednesday).”

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