S.C. State House roundup: Major penalties stripped from bill targeting slow left-lane drivers

S.C. State House roundup
S.C. State House roundup(WRDW)
Published: Mar. 18, 2021 at 10:26 AM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. - South Carolina lawmakers are moving ahead with a bill to penalize slow drivers in the left lane, but the consequences have been toned down a little bit.

South Carolina has a law in place that states people should drive on the right side of all roadways unless they are passing a car, making a turn or if the right lane is blocked. But, it doesn’t have any penalties attached to it.

A bill first introduced in the South Carolina House proposed that driving slow in the left lane would result in a misdemeanor offense, a $200 fine and two points off a person’s license. The chamber passed it earlier this month.

On Wednesday, the Senate Transportation Committee discussed the legislation and changed it so that those driving slow in the left lane would only face a $25 fine and it will not be included on a person’s driving record and there won’t be a report to the driver’s insurance.

Some in the committee questioned what is the point of the bill if a driver didn’t face tougher penalties. Sen. Sean Bennett said hopefully it will get more people to pay attention and move to the right lane.

“There are a number of problems that are a direct result of, I’ll say it, I’m a South Carolinian… we aren’t very good drivers here, we don’t really do things well around here, we’re not very kind on the roads,” Bennett stated.

The committee voted in favor of the bill receiving a “favorable report as amended” for the full Senate.

S.C. lawmakers pay heed to weather warnings

COLUMBIA, S.C. - The potential for severe thunderstorms and possible tornadoes Thursday led the South Carolina Senate to not meet at all and the House to tell members to come only if they feel safe.

House Speaker Jay Lucas said that chamber would meet less than an hour Thursday to take up routine motions in advance of a budget debate next week — then adjourn.

“If you are in a situation where it is perilous that you come, I’m asking you not to come,” Lucas said. “If you can come, give us a quorum and do these few things we need to do, we will be out of here in a hurry.”

Lawmaker draws ire from fellow Democrats on transgender bill

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Twenty-three South Carolina Republicans have signed onto a measure aimed at blocking hormonal treatments for transgender youths.

But the bill’s chief sponsor is a Democrat, prompting intense scrutiny from within his own party. Last week, lawmakers introduced a bill aimed at prohibiting minors from undergoing sex-reassignment procedures.

Felony charges would be possible for doctors who violate the law. Democratic state Rep. Cezar McKnight is its primary sponsor.

He says his main concern is that a teen might regret a transition decision later in life. Leaders of the South Carolina Democratic Party have approved a resolution condemning the bill and its Democratic supporters.

Wait to spend $2.1B in COVID relief, budget writer warns

COLUMBIA, S.C. - The Republican leader of the committee that writes South Carolina’s budget says he is waiting for more guidance before he makes any recommendations on how to spend the state’s share of $1.9 trillion in COVID-19 relief from the federal government.

South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson joined colleagues in 20 other states in a letter asking Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen for clarity on how the money can be spent.

They think the Biden administration is preventing the money from being spent on tax cuts. House Ways and Means Chairman Murrell Smith says he will create a committee before the end of the month to study how to spend the state’s $2.1 billion share of the latest federal COVID-19 relief.

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