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McMaster recalls General Assembly for additional work this week

Confederate Flag Removed From South Carolina Statehouse

Photo: Getty Images

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC) - Gov. Henry McMaster issued an executive order Friday morning recalling lawmakers to the State House next week to tackle what he called “unfinished business.”

Executive Order 2023-13 will reconvene the General Assembly for an extra legislative session to take up several issues, including the Fetal Heartbeat and Protection from Abortion Act. The order also calls on lawmakers to work on bills that would enhance penalties for illegal gun possession, bond reform and complete work on the General Appropriations Act.

“The General Assembly has made progress on a few items this year, such as expanding school choice, repealing certificate of need, restructuring of the Department of Health and Environmental Control, passing a shield law, and approving a large incentive package for Scout Motors bringing jobs and prosperity to the state, but they have not finished their business,” McMaster said. “The General Assembly did not close the revolving door for criminals. It remains wide open. They have not passed bond reform, and they have not enhanced the criminal penalties for illegal-gun possession. In addition, the General Assembly must complete the state budget, and they must pass legislation that stops our state from becoming a destination for abortions. Therefore, I am directing the General Assembly to return for a special session to complete the important business at hand.”

The governor’s executive order will remain in effect unless and until modified, amended, or rescinded by a subsequent order.

With Friday’s executive order, McMaster became the first governor since Democrat Jim Hodges to reconvene the General Assembly to a special session.

The legislative session ended Thursday afternoon, and the South Carolina House and Senate typically put an agreement in place that outlines reasons they can return to Columbia, such as finalizing the budget. But this year, lawmakers failed to agree on a resolution

That failure to agree would allow McMaster to call them back. McMaster wants the House to take up the Senate’s six-week abortion bill.

House Speaker Murrel Smith (R-Sumter) said that is likely to happen.

“We are going to come back next Tuesday, May 16, and be prepared to be here as long as it takes.”

The House would consider the Senate bill which would ban most abortions after around six weeks with exceptions for the mother’s life, sexual assault victims, and fatal fetal anomalies.

The Senate already passed this bill, so if it passes the House, state senators will likely be back in two weeks to decide if they’ll agree to any changes the House makes and send the bill to the governor or try to work out a compromise.

Unlike other red states, South Carolina has not enacted tighter abortion restrictions after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade last summer.

Abortion is currently legal in the state before about 20 weeks into a pregnancy.

McMaster appoints new comptroller general

Mcmaster named a new comptroller general to serve until state lawmakers vote on a permanent comptroller general.

Brian J. Gaines will serve in that role until the General Assembly elects someone to complete the remaining term of office, which is over three years, McMaster said.

“Mr. Gaines currently serves as director of the executive budget office within the department of administration. He has served in numerous financial leadership roles within state government for over 16 years from the Department of Employment and workforce, the old budget control board and now the department of administration,” McMaster said. “Mr. Gaines is highly respected by everyone by the leadership of the General Assembly, the State agency directors and by me.”

South Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Donald Beatty administered the oath of office.

Copyright 2023 WCSC. All rights reserved.

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