A daily review of what’s making news in South Carolina state government.
— The easy stuff is out of the way. The House will continue a second day of debate on a roughly $8 billion general fund budget Tuesday ($27.4 billion in total funds).
Legislators spent Monday afternoon approving each agency’s budget individually, as is required by a 2011 roll-call voting law. House leaders spent Monday focusing on non-controversial agency votes in order to get them out of the way before focusing on the more contentious amendments and funding levels Tuesday.
The budget includes about $520 million in new money. Much of that will go towards covering increased contributions into employees’ pensions and health insurance costs. As a result, however, budget writers decided against a pay raise for state employees.
— Senators are taking steps to eventually phase out the state’s pension plan entirely. The State newspaper reports the state Senate last week approved closing the current retirement system to new employees once it is made financially whole. But that could take about 30 years, according to the report. But supporters of the change say pensions are no longer financialy feasible with people living longer and investment interest remaining stagnant post-2009 recession.
— State health officials have changed how they propose changes to regulations, according to the Charleston Post & Courier. Last year, the Department of Health and Environmental Control proposed requiring a woman seeking an abortion get signed consent from her husband. Currently, the consent is only required for an abortion in the third trimester. The newspaper reports a staff member drafting the regulation apparently misinterpreted state law and included the incorrect language. The agency eventually pulled the proposed change after outcry from abortion clinics.