South Carolina Legislature

Rule 19.

Standing Committees of the Senate

      The Standing Committees of the Senate shall be as follows and shall have jurisdiction over legislation, appointments and other matters which fall within the title or titles of the Code of Laws as are herein below enumerated for each of the Committees:

      Agriculture and Natural Resources - Titles 4 (county fairs), 39 (agricultural & food products), 46, 47,
          48 (land resources, soil & water conservation, mining, oil & gas, and wetlands), and 49

      Banking and Insurance - Titles 21 (trust companies), 29, 34, 35, 36, 37, and 38

      Corrections and Penology - Titles 2 (community corrections) and 24

      Education - Titles 2 (higher education), 51, 59, and 60 (school governance & structure at all levels)


      Finance - Titles 1 (Administration, SFAA), 2 (bonding authority, taxation, finances), 3,
         4 through 6 (bonding authority, taxation, finances), 8 (employment standards, retirement,
         deferred compensation), 9, 10, 11, and 12, Constitution (bonding authority, taxation, finances)

      Fish, Game and Forestry - Titles 48 (forestry & fire protection), 49, 50, and 51

      General Committee - Titles 1 (state emblems and observances), 5 (cemeteries), 25, 26,
         27 (cemeteries), 39 (blind persons), 43, 45, 52, 53, and 63 (children’s services, childcare)


      Judiciary - Constitution, Titles 1, 2, 4, 5 through 8, 14 through 23, 27, 28, 30, 32,
         33 (electric cooperatives), 42, 44 (drug related offenses), 56 (criminal offenses),
         58, 61, 62 and 63 (family court, legal issues, juvenile justice)

      Labor, Commerce and Industry - Titles 1, (occupational licensing, building codes), 4 through 6
         (building, construction, planning, fire codes), 13, 23 (firefighting), 31, 33,
         39 (business matters, chemicals, industrial products), 40 and 41

      Medical Affairs - Titles 39 (drug products), 40 (health care professionals), 43, 44, and
         48 (pollution control, waste management, water & sewer)

      Rules - Senate Rules, Joint Rules

      Transportation - Titles 5 (streets, sidewalks, parking), 54, 55, 56, 57, and
         58 (Regional Transportation Authorities and railroads)

      Matters shall be referred to the appropriate standing committee with jurisdiction over the primary subject matter addressed by the Bill or Resolution. If there is any objection to the referral of any bill or resolution to any Standing Committee, the Rules Committee shall hear the same, resolve the issue and report to the Senate within one (1) legislative day its decision which decision may be overruled by a vote of twenty-nine (29) Senators.

      The several committees shall have such powers and duties as provided for in these rules. It shall not be in order for any committee to consider any proposed committee amendment (other than a technical, clerical, or conforming amendment) which contains any significant matter not within the jurisdiction of the committee proposing such amendment.

Committee Composition

      The membership of the above listed committees shall be as follows: The Committees on Judiciary and Finance shall each have twenty-three (23) members. All other standing Committees except the Committee on Ethics and the Committee on Invitations shall have seventeen (17) members. The Committee on Ethics shall be composed of ten (10) members. Of the ten (10) members selecting a seat, five (5) shall be members of the majority party and five (5) shall be members of the minority party. The Committee on Invitations shall be limited to not more than eleven (11) members. The total membership of each Standing Committee shall be composed of members of the two major political party caucuses in proportion to the number of Senators of each of such political party caucuses as nearly as possible and ensuring that the majority party as defined in these Rules contains a majority of the membership within each Standing Committee. For purposes of determining committee composition, percentages shall be rounded as follows: percentages of .49 or below shall be rounded down and percentages of .50 and above shall be rounded up.

      Membership on the Judiciary Committee excludes membership on the Finance Committee and vice versa.

      Committee seniority shall be determined by tenure within the committee rather than tenure within the Senate. When members with seniority transfer to a new committee, their seniority will be counted ahead of newly-elected Senators.

      Where two or more Standing Committees are combined, initial membership on such committee shall be based on tenure within the Senate.

Special Committees

      In addition to the above listed Standing Committees, there shall be two (2) Special Committees to be known as the Committee on Interstate Cooperation which shall be composed of five (5) members and the Operations and Management Committee selected by the President Pro Tempore. The Chairman of the Interstate Cooperation Committee and the Operations and Management Committee shall in all cases be the most senior senator of the majority party serving thereon or in his or her absence the next most senior Senator of the majority party serving thereon.

Committee Selections

      Members of the Senate shall make their committee selections at the commencement of the session following the election of Senators or in the case of a special election, at such session designated for that purpose by the President Pro Tempore. In the case of a special election, the President Pro Tempore must call a session for the purpose of committee selections within three statewide days after a Senator elected in a special election has taken the oath of office.

      Members of the Senate may not select more than five (5) Standing Committees. The Committee on Ethics, the Committee on Invitations, the Committee on Interstate Cooperation, and the Operations and Management Committee are not included in this limitation.

      For the members to make their Standing Committee selections, the Clerk of the Senate (or if the Clerk has not been elected, the Clerk of the Senate during the preceding General Assembly or an assistant clerk) shall prepare a roll of the Senate listing the members in the order of length of continuous service, beginning with the longest continuous service. Where two or more members have equal continuous service they shall be listed in alphabetical order. The Clerk of the Senate shall also prepare a list of each Standing Committee and the number of seats available to members of each party. The Clerk of the Senate shall then call the roll twice in order of continuous service. Each member, upon his or her name being called during the first call of the roll, shall select four (4) unfilled Standing Committees on which he or she wishes to serve (and shall also select at this same time a seat on any or all of the Ethics, Invitations and Interstate Cooperation Committees so long as a vacancy exists). Each member must select either the Finance or Judiciary Committee during the first call of the roll.

      When the prescribed number of seats provided for a particular party within a Standing Committee has been filled, the President shall announce that the seats available for either the Majority or Minority party are filled. When the roll is called for the second time, it shall be called in reverse order of continuous service and each member upon his or her name being called, may select one additional unfilled Standing Committee on which he or she wishes to serve.

      In the event any member is unable to be present for selection of Standing Committees, that member may authorize in writing any member of the Senate to make selections in his or her behalf. This procedure shall be followed on the first day of the session following the election of Senators and at any other session where a newly elected member(s) is seated and the President Pro Tempore has made the designation within the timeframe hereinabove provided. Any Senator who served on a Standing Committee in the session immediately past shall have the right to select such committee, regardless of the Senator's seniority in the Senate, unless the Senator shall elect to be removed from such committee by the choices made by the member during the first round of selection of committees or unless the number of seats available to his respective party have already been filled.

      Except as otherwise provided herein, in the selection by members of a seat on a Senate Standing Committee, the seniority system from the previous session shall be retained so as to become a part of these rules.

Chairmen of the Standing Committees

      In the selection of the Chairman of the Standing Committees, the senior member of the Committee from the majority party, in terms of seniority within the Committee, shall be the Chairman of the Standing Committee. The Chairman of the Standing Committee shall serve for the quadrennium concurring with the term of the Senators adopting theses Rules. If a vacancy occurs in the Chairmanship of a Standing Committee, then the next most senior member of the majority party shall become Chairman of the Committee for the remainder of the original term. However, a Senator shall serve as Chairman of only one of the Standing Committees, but may chair a Standing Committee and a Special Committee concurrently.

      Should any Senator, during his term of office, cease to be a member of the political party of which he was a member at the time of his election, he shall not be deemed, thereby, to have forfeited all Committee memberships to which he may have been elected and shall not waive all seniority within each of the committees of which he or she was member if a majority of the caucus to which the member switches consents to that Senator retaining his seniority within the Committees to which he was a member at the time of his switch. No Senator elected as a Chairman of a Standing Committee at the opening of a session shall lose that Chairmanship even if a Senator switches parties and because of that switch becomes the senior member of the majority party on that Committee.

      Each Committee Chairman shall have necessary staff to oversee the operation of the committee and its staff appointed by the Committee Chairman and such Committee counsel, staff assistants, and pages as the Chair of the Committee may deem necessary. The number of positions and salaries of personnel selected pursuant to this provision shall be subject to the approval of the Operations and Management Committee.

      The Chair of any Committee may appoint subcommittees to consider a particular bill or resolution or to consider matters relative to a portion of work of the Committee. Such subcommittees shall make recommendations to the Committee. The Chair of the full Committee shall name the chairman of the subcommittee who need not be the senior member appointed to the subcommittee. The total membership of a subcommittee shall be composed of members of the two major political parties if practicable. The Chair of the full Committee shall be an ex officio member of all subcommittees and entitled to vote, but shall not be counted as a member for purposes of a quorum.

Operations and Management Committee

      The Operations and Management Committee, through the Clerk of the Senate and subject to the Committee's approval, shall oversee the day-to-day operation of the Senate including the allocation of office space between members. The Sergeant-at-Arms shall appoint such number of employees as Deputy Sergeant-at-Arms, subject to the approval of the Operations and Management Committee, as are necessary for the proper transaction of the business of the Senate.

      Each Senator, who is not a Committee Chairman, shall hire such number of pages and other employees as is necessary for the proper transaction of their legislative business. The Operations and Management Committee shall determine the number and salary ranges for these positions. All staffing decisions, including the hiring and firing of all staff, unless otherwise provided herein, shall be the sole responsibility of the affected Senator who must ensure that his or her employees follow the policies and procedures of the Operations and Management Committee, which shall be enforced by the Operations and Management Committee. However, if an employee works for more than one Senator, then the decision to hire and fire must be made by both of the affected Senators. If an agreement cannot be reached regarding the hiring and firing of an employee who works for more than one Senator, then the Operations and Management Committee shall arbitrate the dispute and render a decision which decision shall be final.

      The Operations and Management Committee shall also oversee the Office of Senate Research which shall provide assistance as requested by Senate members and committees of the Senate. The Operations and Management Committee shall appoint a majority and minority research director and such other research counsel and staff assistants as is necessary for the proper transaction of its business.

Committees of Conference and Free Conference

      Committees of conference and free conference between the two Houses shall be comprised of three members. The chairman of the committee with jurisdiction over the Bill which is the subject of the request for appointment of conference committee shall select one member; the Majority Leader of the Senate shall select one member; and the President Pro Tempore shall select one member. In all cases, the chairman of the committee of conference or free conference shall be chosen by a majority of the appointed conferees.

Committee Meetings

      The following schedule shall be the regular meeting times for Standing Committees when the General Assembly is in session. Any additional or special meeting may be called only by individual Committee Chairmen subject to the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act.

Every Tuesday
        11:00 a.m. - Finance and Judiciary
1st and 3rd Wednesday
        10:00 a.m. - Fish, Game & Forestry
        11:00 a.m. - Transportation
2nd and 4th Wednesday
        9:00 a.m. - General
        10:00 a.m. - Education
        11:00 a.m. - Banking & Insurance
1st and 3rd Thursday
        9:00 a.m. - Corrections & Penology
        10:00 a.m. - Medical Affairs
2nd and 4th Thursday
        9:00 a.m. - Labor, Commerce & Industry
        10:00 a.m.  Agriculture and Natural Resources

      The Rules Committee, Ethics Committee, Interstate Cooperation Committee, and the Invitations Committee shall meet at the call of the Chair. Provided, however, that nothing herein shall prohibit the Chairman of a Standing Committee from canceling a committee meeting. No committee, except the Rules Committee, shall hold a meeting while the Senate is in session without first being granted leave by the Senate.

      The above listed dates refer to calendar weeks as opposed to session weeks. The date, time and place of any called meetings shall be reported to the Clerk of the Senate who shall post such information in the lobby of the Gressette Senate Office Building and the State House. Notice of regular scheduled meetings, as well as called meetings, shall be posted in accordance with the South Carolina Freedom of Information Act.

      Each Standing Committee is responsible for keeping minutes of all meetings of the full committee. The vote total on any matter before the committee shall be recorded in the minutes and a roll call vote must be recorded upon request of five Senators.

Last Updated: 12/19/2016 at 9:27 AM

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