Permanent fixes to major issues — repairing the state’s roads and rebuilding poor schools — were outstanding as the 2016 legislative session drew to a close Thursday.
Still, S.C. lawmakers did some things for you this session.
A start to fixing roads
S.C. lawmakers approved a borrowing proposal that will pay for $4 billion in road-and-bridge repairs during the next 10 years.
In Richland and Lexington counties, the largest project will be widening and upgrading the interchanges in Malfunction Junction, the poorly designed, congested area around the intersection of Interstates 20 and 26.
The Transportation Department also estimates it will spend $38 million in Richland and $37 million in Lexington to repave roads. Specific roads are not yet available, the Transportation Department said, adding that will depend on annual assessments.
Also, of the nearly 400 bridges to be replaced statewide, 24 are in Richland and 10 are in Lexington.
The roads bill still must be signed into law by Gov. Nikki Haley.
You can carry your gun to Georgia
Georgians with concealed-weapon permits will be able to carry their weapons in South Carolina, if Haley signs a proposal passed by lawmakers this week.
The proposal also would allow South Carolinians with concealed-weapon permits to carry their guns in Georgia.
Meanwhile, proposals to strengthen background check requirements before gun purchases — proposed by Democrats after last June’s Emanuel AME massacre — went nowhere. Democrats say they will try again next year.
You can use the bathroom of your choice
In the wake of North Carolina’s controversial House Bill 2, S.C. lawmakers tried to enact similar bans on transgender people and students using the bathrooms of their choice. However, those efforts — led by state Sen. Lee Bright, R-Spartanburg — failed.
Another bathroom-ban bill would have applied only to Berkeley County students. That proposal — opposed by Gov. Nikki Haley, schools chief Molly Spearman and Commerce Secretary Bobby Hitt — ultimately was defeated, too.
You can get your Viagra without new hurdles
State Rep. Mia McLeod, D-Richland, said she wanted to make it more difficult for men to get Viagra.
Before a doctor could prescribe Viagra, McLeod proposed requiring a sworn affidavit from a sexual partner, a report from a sexual therapist and a cardiac-stress test.
Actually, the proposal by McLeod — running for the state Senate —was a tongue-in-cheek swing at S.C. GOP lawmakers for their efforts to restrict women’s access to abortion.
They were not amused, and the proposal did not pass.
However, abortions will be limited
A ban on abortion at 20 weeks of pregnancy or later became law, including no exceptions for cases of rape or incest.
Under the law, an abortion would be allowed at 20 weeks or later only in the case of a severe fetal anomaly that would prevent the child from surviving or if a doctor says an abortion is necessary to protect the mother from death or severe bodily impairment.
Opponents say the restriction is unconstitutional.
You can not get $1,000 for shooting coyotes
A proposal failed to offer a $1,000 reward for killing tagged coyotes.
The proposal, supported by state Rep. Alan Clemmons, R-Horry, would have directed the S.C. Department of Natural Resources to tag and release at least 12 coyotes across the state. The tagged coyotes would have had a bounty of at least $1,000 each, payable to any hunter who bagged them.
Supporters said the bounty program would have encouraged hunters to shoot the vermin. Opponents said it would encourage reckless hunting.
You could have to register your moped
Moped drivers soon could be required to register with the Department of Motor Vehicles and follow the same traffic rules as other vehicles.
The proposal, which lawmakers sent to Gov. Haley Thursday, also would require mopeds to stay off most interstates — or roads with speed limits higher than 55 mph — and raise the minimum age to drive a moped to 15 from 14. It also would require drivers and passengers younger than 21 to wear a helmet.
The bill does not require moped drivers carry insurance. Senators stripped that requirement earlier this week, saying it would have doomed the bill.
Staff writers Avery Wilks and Jamie Self contributed
Ethics reform remains unresolved
When lawmakers return to Columbia June 15 to take up the governor’s budget vetoes, they also could take up two proposed ethics reforms.
An agreement appeared to have been reached earlier this week on a proposal to have an independent panel investigate ethics allegations against lawmakers.
However, that deal broke down Thursday when the Senate insisted on its independent-investigation proposal.
But House Speaker Pro Tempore Tommy Pope, R-York, said the Senate plan would keep investigations of lawmakers secret for too long, leaving the General Assembly under the cloud of recent ethics scandals.
State Sen. Larry Martin, R-Pickens, said a joint House-Senate panel will continue to work toward an agreement on independent investigations and a second ethics proposal, requiring public officials to disclose information about the sources of their private income.