COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA) – South Carolina lawmakers kicked off the second year of a two-year session Tuesday in Columbia.

They have plenty of work ahead of them in 2022. In addition to legislation, the budget and the COVID-19 pandemic, state lawmakers have billions of dollars in federal relief funds to spend.

State lawmakers will be responsible for allocating more than $2 billion the state is receiving from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). Monday, Governor Henry McMaster shared his recommendations for that federal relief funding.

South Carolina also received millions of dollars from the federal government thanks to a settlement over nuclear waste removal. The state also has billions of dollars in surplus revenue this year.

“It’s a lot of money. It’s transformational money,” said Senate Minority Leader Senator Brad Hutto (D-District 40). “It’s money we cannot misuse, or squander and we need to take a measured amount of time to make sure we are using that money wisely on behalf of all the citizens.”

Senate Majority Leader Sen. Shane Massey (R-District 25) agreed with Sen. Hutto. He said he hopes there will be robust discussions over this money.

Allocating this money won’t be one of the first things they do in the Senate according to Sen. Massey. He said in January they’re likely to debate a Certificate of Need bill, a medical marijuana bill, and finish up redistricting.

“We’re going to have lots of conversations this year about education and the best way to give our students more opportunities to be successful and be better citizens and workers going forward,” said Sen. Massey.