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What are some key issues as S.C. lawmakers open new session?

South Carolina State House
South Carolina State House(WRDW)
Published: Jan. 12, 2021 at 7:26 AM EST
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina’s 124th session of the General Assembly starts Tuesday.

Lawmakers will meet for 18 weeks in the first year of the two-year session.

They plan to meet in person, even with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Senate president says all senators will wear masks, while the House speaker is strongly encouraging his members to wear face coverings.

The Senate will open with 30 of its 46 members Republicans. That’s the most Republicans in modern times.

Lawmakers are expected to tackle familiar issues like education, the budget, Santee Cooper and abortion, and new things like COVID-19, redistricting and criminal justice reforms championed by House Speaker Jay Lucas.

However, Republican South Carolina legislative leaders are unlikely this year to give permission to local governments or colleges who want to take down Confederate statues or rename buildings honoring segregationists.

Lucas and Senate President Harvey Peeler have both said they have no plans to take up bills eliminating South Carolina’s Heritage Act, which requires a two-thirds vote by the General Assembly to remove a monument or rename streets or buildings honoring historical figures.

They say they also won’t take up any requests from local governments to make changes.

The Heritage Act was passed in 2000 as part of the compromise that took the Confederate flag off the Statehouse dome.

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