Headlines from the SC State Capitol:
–South Carolina state senators advanced a bill that would seek to borrow $120 million for the Port of Charleston. The bill, which advanced past the Senate Finance Committee Tuesday, would approve for bonds to be issued to cover the federal share of the estimated $300 million dredging project. Sponsor Sen. Hugh Leatherman (R-Florence) says the bonds would only be issued should the federal government not cover its portion of the cost-sharing agreement.
–A House panel approved the elimination of nearly two-thirds of the state’s sales tax exemptions. However, the committee restored some that had been on the GOP’s list of cuts. The sales tax subcommittee voted to advance the bill by a 4-1 vote Tuesday, moving it to the full Ways and Means Committee. The bill is part of the House GOP’s tax reform plan.
–The full House Committee on Medical, Military, and Municipal Affairs advanced a bill that would require school districts to offer brochures and other information on HPV vaccines to seventh-graders. HPV, short for human papillomavirus, is a sexually-transmitted disease that is a leading cause of cervical cancer. The bill would not make the vaccines themselves mandatory– only optional for students.
–A bipartisan group of lawmakers unveiled a new, proposed revamping of how the state funds education. The proposal would set a uniform property tax millage rate across the state and put all the revenue raised into a single pot. That money would then be sent back to the districts on a per-pupil basis. Supporters say, with only a few months left this year, they’re hoping to start a conversation for next year’s session.
–A sitting member of the House of Representatives has filed to run for the soon-to-be-empty seat of Sen. Phil Shoopman, who announced Sunday that he will not seek re-election. Current Rep. Tom Corbin (R-Travelers Rest) said Monday he will seek the seat. However, fellow Republican Amanda Somers is not happy that the state GOP voted to reopen the process for new candidates– even though the filing deadline has already passed. State law allows the action.