South Carolina 2024 Legislative Session Recap

Drone Aerial View of Downtown Columbia, South Carolina, USA.

During the recent South Carolina legislative session, state lawmakers passed significant bills about economic development, public health, education, professional licensing, and social issues. Since the session began in early January, 237 bills have passed both chambers, with 228 becoming law, as of May 24. Additionally, Governor Henry McMaster vetoed three bills that currently await legislative response.

Healthcare and Insurance

Both chambers approved the following healthcare and insurance bills, all of which Gov. McMaster has signed into law:

Hospital At Home (SB 858) expands healthcare options by allowing acute-level hospital care to be provided at home for specific medical conditions. It exempts these programs from specific Certificate of Need (CON) requirements and mandates the Department of Health and Environmental Control to establish regulations for licensing these services. 

Telehealth and Telemedicine Modernization Act (HB 4159) introduces new regulations for using electronic communications to deliver health care, education, public health, and administrative services, defining this as telehealth. The bill requires telehealth and telemedicine providers to adhere to the same standards of care as in-person services, maintain licensure in South Carolina, ensure patient confidentiality, and comply with state and federal laws for prescribing medications. It also expands the authorization for Advanced Practice Registered Nurses and Physician Assistants to practice telehealth and telemedicine, establishing clear guidelines and standards for these practices.

Paid Family Leave Insurance (HB 4832) allows insurers to create policies providing at least two weeks of paid leave for employees caring for family members, including newborns and those with severe health conditions. The bill outlines requirements for these insurance policies, including coverage details, benefit amounts, and eligibility criteria. It also mandates annual utilization reports starting in 2025.

Certified Medical Assistants and Unlicensed Assistive Personnel (HB 5183) revises certification requirements for certified medical assistants and expands the delegation of nursing tasks to unlicensed assistive personnel. 

Professional Licensure

The following professional licensure bills have been signed into law:

Genetic Counselors (SB 241) establishes licensure for genetic counselors, creating the Board of Genetic Counselors to oversee licensure and regulation. The bill defines the practice of genetic counseling, sets licensure criteria, and outlines the Board’s duties. 

Professional Counseling Compact (SB 610) facilitates the interstate practice of professional counseling through a compact that establishes consistent standards across member states.

Social Issues

The following social issue-related bills have been signed into law:

Child Online Safety Act (HB 3424) protects minors from accessing obscene material online. Commercial entities must implement age verification measures to prevent individuals under 18 from viewing pornographic content and can be held liable for damages if they knowingly distribute such material.

Constitutional Carry (HB 3594) authorizes individuals who are legally allowed to own firearms to carry them openly or concealed without needing a permit, aligning South Carolina with 28 other states that have enacted similar laws.

Xylazine Regulation (HB 4617) classifies xylazine, a veterinary drug, as a Schedule III controlled substance, which prohibits its production, distribution, or possession except for legitimate veterinary use, compounding by licensed pharmacists or veterinarians, or with a valid veterinary prescription.

Intercollegiate Athlete Name, Image, and Likeness Compensation (HB 4957) revises the state regulations for intercollegiate athletes’ compensation for their name, image, or likeness (NIL), overriding NCAA restrictions and shielding colleges from potential NCAA sanctions.

Budget and Taxation

The state Board of Economic Advisors (BEA) approved a revised revenue forecast for FY24 and FY25. The BEA increased the forecast by $610 million, with $143 million in recurring revenue and $467 million in nonrecurring revenue (one-time dollars) which will be available for Budget Conferees to allocate when deliberations begin. 

The Budget Conference Committee met to organize on May 28th for about five minutes. They set a tentative public meeting schedule. Conferees adopted the motion to name Senate Finance Committee Chairman Harvey Peeler and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bruce Bannister as the Committee’s co-Chairs. All “matching” items and provisos in the two budget versions were adopted, carrying over all remaining items for conference. 

Tentative Meeting Schedule

  • 2:00 pm on Wednesday, June 5th – Proviso review and discussion
  • 10:00 am on Wednesday, June 12th
  • Time TBD on Thursday, June 13th – additional dates/times to be determined as necessary

Conferees include:

  • Senate: Senate Finance Committee Chairman Harvey Peeler (R, Cherokee), Senate Finance K-12 Subcommittee Chairman Sean Bennett (R, Dorchester) and Senate Finance Natural Resources and Economic Development Subcommittee Chairman Nikki Setzler (D, Lexington)
  • House of Representatives: House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bruce Bannister (R, Greenville), Ways and Means Criminal Justice Subcommittee Chairman Phillip Lowe (R, Florence) and Ways and Means Economic Development Subcommittee Chairman Leon Stavrinakis (D, Charleston)


Scholarship Stipend (SB 125) extends a scholarship offering of up to $2,500 per year for up to three years, initially designed for math and science majors, to include education students. To be eligible, students must commit to teaching in South Carolina public schools for a specified period after graduation. 

High-profile bills not enacted into law

Executive Office of Health and Policy Initiative (SB 915) would have overhauled South Carolina’s health and policy framework by establishing the Executive Office of Health and Policy, consolidating multiple departments under a Governor-appointed Secretary. 

South Carolina Compassionate Care Act (SB 423) would have established the South Carolina Medical Cannabis Program, permitting the sale of medical cannabis to patients with qualifying conditions, such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, and epilepsy. 

Blood and Organ Donation Regulations (HB 5060) proposed mandatory testing of donated blood, tissues, and organs for high-count spike proteins from long COVID-19 or gene therapy biologics.

Unemployment Benefit Adjustments (HB 4710) proposed adjusting the duration of unemployment benefits based on the state unemployment rate.

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