COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA) — After the COVID-19 pandemic shortened this year’s session, South Carolina lawmakers said they are ready to get back to work.
Members of the House of Representatives were back in Columbia Tuesday for a two-day organizational session.
They picked their seats, elected leaders, formed their committees and laid the groundwork for the 2021 session. The Republican majority in the body grew by two seats after the General Election last month.
Lawmakers said they would like to take up issues like COVID-19 relief, education and potentially a new budget for the rest of the fiscal year.
Representative Murrell Smith (R-District 67) said if a budget is passed for the remaining six months of the fiscal year it would most likely be a supplemental bill. In September, the House opted to stick with a continuing resolution that kept state government funded at the same levels as Fiscal Year 2019-20.
According to Smith, they are exploring all options.
Rep. Smith said, “Teacher pay and education is going to be a priority in the House. It’s just a matter of what the revenues are.”
He said lawmakers want to get a full picture of the impact the pandemic has had on the state’s economy. He said projected state revenue continues to drop. “The revenue has been so unpredictable. We’ve had wild swings. We had a billion dollars of new revenue coming to the state and it has incrementally gone down. The latest projection is $35 million.”
Smith said they will take a cautious wait-and-see approach. He said they aren’t looking at new spending priorities right now but are could look at ways to invest in the state’s COVID-19 response.
The first day of the new legislative session is January 12th.