Wednesday, April 10, marked a very important deadline for lawmakers in Columbia. The date marks the 2019 legislative session’s crossover deadline.
Essentially, what it means is if a bill hasn’t passed out of one body of the General Assembly by that date, its chances of passing this year are slim.
More than 2000 bills have been filed the 2019 legislative session, that address everything from reforming the state’s education system to banning abortion.
But at this point only about 600 have been passed out of its originating body.
The bills coming out of the SC House include a massive education reform bill and a tobacco bill aimed at teenagers. Both were passed well before the crossover date.
Representative Beth Bernstein of Richland County filed that vaping bill, which limits access to e-cigarettes for teens.
“It will prevent teens from going into vape shops and purchase vaping products. It prevents anyone from using these products on school grounds.”
Most bills go through an intense vetting process before the bill makes it to the State House floor, but lawmakers wasted no time making sure a bill that requires illuminated signs for Uber and Lyft drivers beat the crossover date. The bill was filed after the murder of college student Samantha Josephson, who allegedly got into a vehicle she thought was an Uber.
Representative Seth Rose filed the bill. “We can’t prevent a maniac from doing something crazy, but as a lawmaker as a policy maker we can, and we should pass laws and regulations that make the likelihood of something like that happening less.”
Bills passed out of the Senate that state representatives will now have to vet include a ban on drones near military bases and a bill that increases how much a person can get if they were to sue the state in the case of death or injury.
Bernstein explained, “How it exists now does not compensate an injured person and the caps are very reasonable in how they’ve been increased.
The bill raises the cap from $300k to $500k for an individual and from $600k to $1 million for groups.
Members of the house and the senate now have 4 weeks to send the remaining bills through the committee and floor debate process.
The 2019 legislative session will conclude on the second Thursday in May.