It’s January, which means the start of another legislative session for the General Assembly.
The General Assembly will be wrestling with some major issues that will occupy a large portion of its time. Last year, the General Assembly came close to passing legislation authorizing “education savings accounts” for certain students at private K-12 schools, and that legislation is already garnering attention. The S.C. Supreme decision in which it ruled against the state’s “fetal heartbeat” law means that abortion legislation likely will be addressed. Workforce development is also a high priority.
And, of course, there’s the state budget – yet again, legislators have more money than last year. They’ve got an additional $754 million in recurring funds and $2.7 billion in non-recurring funds.
Tuition Grants Commission testimony
The Higher Education Subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee has seen some turnover. Rep. Nathan Ballentine (R-Richland) is the new chair, and he’s joined by Rep. Bill Taylor (R-Aiken). Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter (D-Orangeburg) remains on the subcommittee.
First impressions are important and Katie Harrison, executive director of the S.C. Tuition Grants Commission, made a great first impression during her presentation to the subcommittee. All three subcommittee members expressed appreciation for the clarity of her remarks, during which she thanked the General Assembly for its support of the Tuition Grants Program. For the upcoming budget year Katie requested that, along with the other state funding, the $20 million in lottery funding be retained.