Senate advances bill to avoid government shutdown

COLUMBIA — South Carolina’s senators have advanced a resolution that keeps state government funded past the start of the fiscal year.

A committee of Senate and House budget writers failed to reach a compromise on the state’s roughly $7 billion budget last week. To avoid a government shutdown, lawmakers were forced to pass a continuing resolution that ensures all of the state’s obligations are met and employees are paid.

An amendment added to the resolution also keeps the position of secretary of the Department of Transportation under Gov. Nikki Haley; a provision that was scheduled to sunset at the start of the fiscal year on July 1.

Both chambers debated Tuesday simultaneously how to spend taxpayer money. The House debated a bill that spells out how to spend $415 million the state collected above projections, while the Senate debated the capital reserve bill which tackles how to spend the state’s rainy day cash reserves.