Big bills still wait for vote at S.C. State House

Big bills still wait for vote at S.C. State House

COLUMBIA, SC (WCSC/WIS) - There are only two full months left before the House and Senate adjourn for the year, but some major bills are still waiting for a vote.

The State House will be quiet for at least a week with the Senate and House taking furlough. The House is taking two weeks off before coming back into session.

That leaves a large number of bills waiting for a vote and not a lot of time to get to them.

"The first one will be ethics," Sen. John Courson said. "We have the ethics bill at priority status. We need to pass it this year and get it over to the House, get them to pass it and the governor to sign it. I think that's extremely important. The other, of course, is the appropriations bill."

Both of those bills are expected to eat up a lot of time in debate and votes. The appropriations bill, or state's budget, also has priority status, and when it's being debated, no other bill can be brought up.

The House passed the budget in two days, but it may take longer in the Senate.

"The House is a racetrack. The Senate is a reflective body," Courson said. "We pause, we study, we look into the weeds."

And on the House side, lawmakers now have to deal both with the controversial refugee bill and the roads plan sent back from the Senate, which House reps have already said will likely head to conference committee.

"We're looking at how we best get across the finish line," Rep. Gary Simrill said. "And is best and quick the same?"

But with a limited amount of time left to debate, the question is what bills will get left on the chopping block.

"We are under time constraints, but the appropriations bill is the big one," Courson said.

If bills do not get a vote this year, lawmakers have to start all over again in the next session.

Copyright 2016 WCSC/WIS. All rights reserved.