The 2024 legislative session will begin Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2024. As we look to the beginning of the session, there are several bills I will be monitoring as the session moves forward. Before we dive into some of the bills that will be considered, we need to be aware of pertinent issues affecting the environment of the 2024 legislative session. The overriding issue that will influence many actions taken by the South Carolina Legislature is that 2024 is an election year where all 170 members (124 House members and 46 Senators) will be up for reelection. Bills considered to be controversial will find a more difficult path, and bills that are more readily accepted will likely find an expedited path through both chambers. Other issues that may affect the session include the possibility of an expanded war in the Middle East or in Europe should the Russia/Ukrainian war persist.
The ongoing dispute between the Freedom Caucus and the rest of the GOP members of the Legislature might also affect the speed and/or favorability of some legislation in 2024. Hopefully, the differences will be worked out by the time the session begins and this will no longer be a factor. At least two members of the Senate have indicated they will not seek reelection, which may result in some House members running for those seats that will be available. Also, there are House members who may challenge current members of the Senate in the primary that will take place in June. South Carolina has the first in the south presidential primary scheduled for Feb. 24. Multiple visits by Republican candidates could mean time and energy taken away from policymaking and poured into politics at the beginning of the session, slowing down the legislative process.