Epileptic patients will be allowed to use oil derived from marijuana, South Carolina’s craft brewery business will be nurtured and barbecue will become the state’s official picnic food, under bills that became law in the legislature’s final days.
The legislative session officially ended at 5 p.m. Thursday, though lawmakers will return in two weeks for a special session.
Perhaps the Legislature’s biggest accomplishment this week has been finalizing a $7 billion spending plan. Legislators approved a budget compromise Wednesday for the fiscal year beginning July 1. The last time they completed their plan before the regular session ended was 2010.
The Legislature will wrap up its work after Gov. Nikki Haley issues her line-item budget vetoes next week.
Haley signed nearly 60 bills into law earlier this week. Some noteworthy ones will:
A flurry of activity Thursday produced multiple measures including one aimed at boosting students’ chances of success through an expansion of 4-year-old kindergarten and early intervention in reading. The “Read to Succeed” bill seeks to ensure students can read by fourth grade through a coordinated focus that includes reading coaches, summer reading camps and teacher training. Beginning with the 2017-18 school year, students still struggling to read by the end of third grade would be held back for intensive help. That bill heads to Haley’s desk.
The budget compromise includes money for additional reading coaches and summer camps, as well as a partial expansion of the state program for poor 4-year-olds, by increasing access in 10 districts. That means the program will be available in 61 of the state’s 81 districts.