Current as of June 2, 2010
In a not terribly surprising yet still unusual step, the S.C. House of Representatives this afternoon refused to adopt a conference report establishing a budget for state government when the new fiscal year begins July 1. It is the first time there has been such an occurrence in at least a decade.
At this hour, the Senate and House are seeking to come to agreement about new rules governing the remainder of the session – what can and can’t be considered beyond some form of legislation “making arrangements for the normal expenses of government.” The latter could be a new and different budget conference report, an entirely new budget bill, or a continuing resolution that would allow government to continue operations so long as the rate of expenditures does not exceed that of the current year.
The General Assembly had been scheduled to finish its regular session’s work, including adoption of a budget, on Thursday afternoon, then return on June 15 to take up any gubernatorial vetoes. The tentative plan under consideration would keep the legislature technically in session past Thursday, with a call for legislators to come back to Columbia to take up some form of budget legislation, yet to be determined, when it is ready. Legislators are asking to have at least 48 hours’ advance notice to ensure they have time to read whatever alternative budget measure is proposed by legislative leaders, and several indicate they would prefer not to have to return until after next week’s party primaries.
The 47-69 vote against the conference report in the House revolved around two issues: partisan differences over a series of cuts to health care and social services and differences in the House and Senate position on ending state insurance coverage for abortions in cases of rape or incest.
As always, we will keep you posted of key developments as warranted.