South carolina lawmakers have said goodbye to the state house, for now. The legislative session wrapped up Thursday, but lawmakers will be back in Columbia later this month to handle unfinished business.
“You have a bill and you’re close but each side has some differences. So what will happen is the presiding officer of each body will appoint 3 members of each and we’ll iron out those differences,” explained Representative Tommy Pope, who was appointed to the “Panthers” bill conference committee.
One bill that needs compromising deals with state-owned utility company Santee Cooper. A special committee has spent the past 9 months deciding the company’s future. But members of the senate and house are split on what that future looks like.
Representative Russell Ott of York County sits on that conference committee. Rep. Ott broke down some of the reasons lawmakers couldn’t agree on one area or another of the bill.
“The Senate version wants to completely cut out the lakes, lake Moultrie and lake Marion and not have that up for inclusion in an offer. The House version says let everything be on the table if someone wants to make an offer for all of it.”
Another bill lawmakers will have to come to an agreement on deals with professional-sports teams, more specifically the Carolina Panthers and the possibility of moving the team’s headquarters to the state.
Representative Pope explained some of the reasons lawmakers were at odds over the future of the NFL team. “Senator Harpootlian has some concerns provided by commerce because it’s all projections you know trying to figure out what a certain benefit would yield. “
The final order of business is the state’s budget, where lawmakers will have to compromise on where state money will be spent.
Lawmakers are scheduled to return to the state house on may 20th.
Once these conference committees come to an agreement, that report will then be sent to each body for another round of votes.