After a three year battle, legislative Republicans able to pass a law requiring voters to show photo identification cards before casting their ballot. The Senate approved a conference report that has also cleared the House, meaning it now heads to the governor’s desk for her signature. Since South Carolina is covered by the federal Voting Rights Act, the Department of Justice must also sign off on the law before it can go into effect.
The Senate was only able to approve roughly ten percent of the South Carolina state budget last week, after several Republicans delayed the proceedings to protest what they considered “inflated” spending. Another issue came up when Senate leaders ruled roll-call voting was not necessary on every single section of the state budget, despite passing a law earlier this year that requires just that.
Meanwhile, the House voted to end “point of sale” property taxes. Under a current law called Act 388, a home’s tax value is reassessed once it’s sold, instead of every five years. Realtors say the commercial real estate market has collapsed as companies are reluctant to buy property that will jump in tax value. However, opponents of the bill say it will hurt local governments’ tax revenue. It is unlikely to be taken up by the Senate this year.
The House also began working on an illegal immigration bill that passed the Senate in March. A House subcommittee passed the legislation out by a party line 3-2 vote.
A state health agency would no longer be required to notify a school nurse if a middle or high school student is HIV-positive, under legislation passed in the House. Supporters of the change say federal law prevents the nurse from telling other faculty or parents about the student’s test results, anyway. Opponents said at least one school official should know if a student has AIDS. The House amended a Senate bill Wednesday. Senators must also vote on the amended version.
A week after Senators received criticism for approving collard greens as the official state vegetable while struggling to pass a budget, House members were reluctant to be seen as voting on the bill. A House panel put the measure on hold until they could find out more information.