Thursday was another light day on the floor in both chambers, as most of the attention was still focused on committee work and the budget. The House will have several higher-profile bills reach its floor next week, however, including one by Rep. Bill Sandifer (R-Oconee) that would place heavy fines on those caught committing unemployment fraud.
The Senate remained stuck in a holding pattern on a bill that would create the Department of Administration. Several members led by Sen. Vincent Sheheen (D-Kershaw) tried to force a vote on the bill’s amendments next Tuesday, but were rebuffed by Sen. Hugh Leatherman (R-Florence).
–A Senate panel advanced a bill by Sen. Chip Campsen that would require a person to show proof of citizenship when they register to vote. Republicans say some kind of safeguard is necessary to prevent illegal immigrants from registering. The lone Democrat on the subcommittee, Sen. John Scott (D-Columbia), said it was another attempt to pass the Voter ID bill.
–Two weeks ago, DMV director Kevin Shwedo caused a stir when he said 957 people voted despite being listed as dead. On Wednesday State Election Commission director Marci Andino caused another stir when she disputed that. On Thursday, both met for the first time since Shwedo went public with the number. They pledged to work together and determine the discrepancy.
–The House unanimously passed a bill by Rep. Tom Young (R-Aiken) that would protect a landowner from a lawsuit if a horse rider was injured on their property. Supporters say the bill is needed to help Aiken County set up a network of trails in the region. The legislation now heads to the Senate.
–The House also voted to rename the Pendleton District Agricultural Museum the “Bart Garrison Agricultural Museum of South Carolina.” The museum is temporarily closed for renovation, according to its website.
–Transportation Secretary Robert St. Onge asked legislators to suspend a law requiring the Department of Transportation to install, maintain, and remove driveways located within the public “right of way.” He it would save the agency $6 million next year. However, legislators said the agency has a responsibility to provide adequate access to state roads.
–The first candidate has announced he will run for the newly-created House District 120 seat in Beaufort County northwest of Hilton Head Island. Beaufort County Councilman Jerry Stewart does not currently live in the district, according to the Hilton Head Island Packet, but Stewart said he would move to a neighborhood within its lines. The district was created by redistricting last year.