How does a Bill Become Law in SC?

The South Carolina Legislature prepared a booklet on the process that you can find online here:

Here is the basic summary on how a bill becomes law in SC.  The South Carolina Legislature, the house and the senate, has part-time representatives that are in session about five months of the year, from the second Tuesday in January until the second Thursday in May.  The house and senate only meet on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.  The full Committees meet every other week.  This means that realistically, each year, SCSHA has about 17 or 18 weeks to get a given bill through one of the legislative bodies, and half of that time to get through Committee. 

Once the house passes a bill, it crosses over to the senate.  There is a deadline for bills to get to the other legislative body, known as the crossover deadline.  In South Carolina, our crossover deadline is April 10.  Since April 10 was a Saturday in 2021, the actual crossover deadline was April 8.  When you hear of a flurry of activity that week in the South Carolina state house or senate, that’s because they are hoping to get bills crossed over before that deadline.  Any bills that do not pass their respective legislative body by the crossover deadline can still be passed before the end of term on May 13, but won’t reach the other legislative body until January of the following year.

What does this mean for South Carolina?
Meaningful legislative change can take up to 2 years to become law. Some of the bills we have been following may be sitting in a committee for a couple of years.  To get a bill out of committee, the bill must be scheduled for a hearing. A sub-committee may be involved in researching the bill and asking for associations with interests in the bill to submit written information, provide written testimony, or meet with the committee or sub-committee to clarify any questions. 

Our national association, ASHA is often involved with bills that have been proposed in multiple states.  Our state association is responsible for engaging with ASHA for advocacy, and working with our lobbyist to advocate for our state.  Sometimes, our state association is responsible for ensuring that our advocates at ASHA are aware of specific legislation so that joint ASHA and SCSHA written testimony is submitted. 

If you would like to learn more about, or follow, ASHA’s advocacy efforts, these web links may be helpful to you.

If you would like to be involved with a committee with SCSHA in any capacity, your volunteerism is welcomed and encouraged.  We hope that you will find a place to jump in and help advocate for our profession and our patients.

Our NEW committees should be available soon on the website so you can start signing up to contribute TODAY!