• SC House Jay Lucas Announces Resignation Date, Speaker Election Set


    Last Thursday, SC House Speaker Jay Lucas (R-Darlington) announced that he would be stepping down from his position on May 12th, the last day of the regular session. Lucas had previously announced last month that he would not be seeking re-election this fall after serving twenty-four years in the House of Representatives. The Anderson Area Chamber of Commerce thanks Speaker Lucas for his many years of exemplary service to our state and his strong support for the business community.


    It was also announced that the election to select the House’s next Speaker will occur tomorrow, Thursday, April 28th. Ways and Means Chairman Murrell Smith (R-Sumter) is widely expected to be chosen as the next Speaker without any opposition. The ascension of Smith to the speakership will leave an opening for a new chairman of Ways and Means, along with an opening for the Majority Leader position with current Majority Leader Gary Simrill (R-Rock Hill) having previously announced his decision not to seek re-election.


    Legislative Update

    •  Senate Budget Debate Set to Begin – The full Senate is expected to debate their version of the budget (H.5150) this week. Many differences exist 
        between the two legislative bodies’ proposals, so it remains to be seen how they will work out the differences to advance a final product. Included in the 
        Senate’s version of the budget is over $2 billion to implement the Senate-passed tax relief legislation (S.1087), which immediately reduces the top 
        marginal income tax rate from 7% to 5.7% and the industrial property tax rate from 9% to effectively 6%.  

        Other items of note include: 

      • $350 million was allocated to the South Carolina Ports Authority to continue the development of the Naval Base Intermodal Facility and a 
        container barge infrastructure project.
      • $100 million for the South Carolina Department of Transportation to obtain matching money from the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
      • Funding to the Department of Education to increase the starting salary for teachers from $36,000 to $38,000.
      • $16 million to fund the Workforce Scholarships for the Future program administered through the SC Technical College System, allowing SC students to pursue degrees in high-demand fields at no cost.
      • $642,500 was allocated to the Department of Employment and Workforce for operating expenses to continue the Be Pro Be Proud initiative through FY2023.

    •  State Election Laws (H.4919): On Wednesday, the Senate unanimously passed a bill that would modify the state’s election laws by allowing for two 
        weeks of early voting, allowing the mailing in of absentee ballots instead of requiring absentee ballots to be completed in-person, and amending current 
        law to increase the penalty for voter fraud from a misdemeanor to a felony. The Senate also amended the bill to give the Senate the power to confirm 
        the Governor’s choices for both the director and all board members of the State Election Commission. The bill now heads back to the House.

    •  SC WINS (H.3144) – The Senate Education Committee advanced a proposal that would permanently enact the South Carolina Workforce Industry Needs 
        Scholarship (SC WINS), funded through budget provisos since 2019. SC WINS is designed to supplement a student in the Technical College System by 
        receiving lottery tuition assistance and pursuing a degree in a critical workforce program area such as advanced manufacturing, nursing, transportation 
        & logistics, among others. The bill is now on the Senate floor.

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