When the clock struck 5 p.m. on May 12, “Sine Die” went into effect, marking the end of the 2021-2022 legislative session.
“Sine die” is Latin for “without a day” – to describe an adjournment when the date to reconvene is not specified. For us it means the House is adjourned without specifying a specific date, but we all know that there are still a few things that need to be settled before a new legislature takes over following November’s general election.
This year, we made sure that we will return to pass a new state budget (once details are finalized), and we will review any gubernatorial vetoes.
Furthermore, we included a provision that allows us to return to debate legislation in reaction to a decision of the United States Supreme Court in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. If, as anticipated, Dobbs overturns Roe v. Wade and pushes decisions on abortion to the states, the South Carolina General Assembly can return to accomplish what proponents intended with the Fetal Heartbeat Bill.
To summarize our past session, it was primarily one of tax cuts in the House. I was proud to vote for an extensive tax cut plan that was designed specifically with the average South Carolina taxpayer in mind. We carefully calculated each dollar, putting to use the historic surpluses we had available due to years of conservative budgeting and planning.
The House budget was focused around what we called the Four R’s: Increasing reserves and roads (plus other infrastructure) while providing raises for teachers and first responders, as well as more than $1 billion in tax relief.
Once passed, our House bill was sent to the Senate, where senators, as they often do, developed their own version. Given the differences, the House and Senate will each send three delegates to meet in a conference committee where they will reconcile the differences to write a final budget that best serves our state.
During our final week we also formed a conference committee to finalize legislation that promises school choice to thousands of South Carolina families who might not have had the resources to previously enjoy educational freedom. This is a program I have been advocating for nearly six years.
The legislation will furnish scholarships to eligible students to put toward tuition and other school expenses so they can attend a private school of their choosing. As most parents know, students are not all alike, and many often have unique learning abilities and sometimes standard public education cannot meet an individual student’s needs.
I was also pleased to see foster care expanded, with the House giving a final vote to a bill allowing for “fictive kin” to be eligible foster parents under the Kinship Foster Care Program. A “fictive kin” means an individual not related by birth, adoption or marriage to a child, but who has an emotionally significant relationship with the child or the child’s family.
Jeff Bradley is the representative for District 123 in the State House of Representatives.