The Legislature is a week away from ending its session for this year. The budget, government restructuring, and redistricting are still the top issues. And two of those appear unlikely to pass the General Assembly this year.
Both chambers approved a nearly $6 billion dollar general fund budget this week, although Republicans were extremely divided on the final version. Dozens in the GOP ended up voting against a version largely drafted by their own party.
Legislators are now waiting to see what parts of the budget Governor Nikki Haley will veto. She is expected to shoot down funding for the state Arts Commission, leading several artists to send her a last-minute appeal.
The Senate also had trouble drawing new maps for the state’s congressional districts. The redistricting is required after South Carolina picked up a new seventh seat in Congress this year. However, senators cannot agree on what the map will look like– or even what a starting point will be.
A restructuring bill Governor Haley wanted appears dead for this year after the Senate could not get the two-thirds votes necessary to take it up. The process was held up by Democrats, who say it’s a bad idea to jam the bill in at the end of the session.
The House approved Senate amendments for a much-contested illegal immigration bill, meaning it now heads to the governor’s desk for her signature.
A bill that would require the state’s colleges to post their spending online also appears unlikely to pass this year. It was held up after some legislators expressed concerned over language they feared could cause colleges to recruit more out-of-state students at the expense of South Carolinians.