— Thursday was the final day of the General Assembly’s regular session for 2013. And much of the attention was focused on just how little legislation of any significance passed this year. Outside the budget, it seems the most significant changes approved this year were bills to possibly legalize raffles and make it more difficult for those deemed mentally ill to purchase guns. Lawmakers on Thursday also approved a fix that would try to prevent another mass booting of candidates off the ballot like what happened last year. But those bills all had near-unanimous support.
However, ethics reform, improvements to the state’s cybersecurity network, and a long-term solution to fund road and bridge repairs failed to become law this year. Lawmakers could still pass a Department of Administration bill that Gov. Nikki Haley has sought for three years (and other supporters for even longer), but most observers believe that unlikely.
— Another bill that will not pass this year is legislation that would have allowed concealed weapons permit (CWP) holders to carry their guns and restaurants. Some opponents in the Senate, upset that House leaders had eliminated a proposed compromise, prevented the bill from reaching a vote before Thursday’s deadline.
— Gov. Nikki Haley on Thursday did sign into law a minor bill that would allow breweries in South Carolina to sell full pints as part of their tours. Previously, brewers could only offer up to four samples of up to four ounces to visitors, which many small brewers said hurt potential business. The new law allows people to buy and drink up to 48 ounces as part of their tour, allowing for tastings of full pints.
— The chief justice of South Carolina’s highest court told lawmakers Thursday that she intends to seek re-election next year. Jean Toal has held the SC Supreme Court’s highest seat since 2000. However, if re-elected, she would be forced to retire in just a few years due to the state’s mandatory age of 72. Toal was the first woman chosen as Chief Justice in South Carolina.
— The rumors became official Thursday, as State Rep. Bakari Sellers (D-Denmark) announced he would try to run for the Lt. Governor’s office in 2014. The 28-year-old Sellers is the first Democrat to seek the post next year. Republican incumbent Glenn McConnell has already announced his intentions to run again. 2014 will be the last time voters directly choose the office before it becomes a joint election with a governor’s campaign in 2018.