Roads Bill Passage, Shorter Session, & Sine Die

Sine Die (Latin meaning “without a fixed day”) Adjournment fell on Thursday June 2, 2016 at 5:00pm and marked the end of this year’s general legislative session. For a bill to have become law this year, it would have needed to pass both legislative chambers by Sine Die.

The House and Senate will now work over the next week and a half in “Conference Committee” to reach final agreements on bills that passed both chambers but still need the differences between them consolidated into a final version that is acceptable to each body. At that point both chambers will come back to vote on the conference reports. The Governor will have 5 days to issue any vetoes and my colleagues will meet one last time to sustain or override her vetoes.  I will report further after we address the vetoes on June 15.

While my House colleagues and I passed many significant pieces of legislation this week, the most anticipated was a bill to begin funding the needed repairs to our dangerous roads and bridges.

On Tuesday afternoon, Speaker Jay Lucas took the floor to call out the Senate for their lack of action and the Governor for her lack of leadership.  On Tuesday evening the Senate passed a roads bill, and Wednesdayafternoon my House colleagues and I took swift action to give it final passage. After two years and hundreds of hours, the bill now goes to Governor Haley for her signature.

Three key components of Road Funding Bill:

  1. Significantly reformed the Department of Transportation. Before allocating any additional dollars to the broken agency, I joined my conservative colleagues in demanding these reforms.
  2. Allocates up to $4 billion in state dollars which must be used to repair our dangerous roadways, including 399 dilapidated bridges.
  3. Does not raise taxes.

This  year marks the last year that the South Carolina legislature will end in June. Beginning in 2017, the legislative session will be a month shorter than it has historically been ultimately saving the state $350,000 and forcing more efficiency in lawmaking. The measure was strongly approved by both chambers.  The House has passed numerous session-shortening bills over the years, but this is the first time the Senate has agreed.

After several sessions of trying, Rep. Eddie Tallon and I were finally able to get the approval of the General Assembly to close the loophole preventing moped riders from being charged with Driving Under the Influence and similar driving offenses.  The reform was included in a more comprehensive bill related to mopeds.

It is an honor to serve you and your family in the General Assembly.  If you ever find yourself in need of assistance navigating state government, or if you have ideas on issues you want me to share with my colleagues in the House, don’t hesitate to contact me at derhamcole@schouse.gov.