The South Carolina General Assembly (also called the South Carolina Legislature) is the group of individuals that makes laws to govern the Palmetto State. All members are elected by the citizens of South Carolina and represent a specific district or area of the state. Each member must live in the district that he or she represents.
The S.C. General Assembly is divided into two bodies: the House of Representatives and the Senate. The House has 124 members who are elected every two years concurrent to the U.S. Congressional election and the Senate has 46 members who are elected every four years concurrent to the U.S. Presidential election. In both houses, there are no term limits.
- Each year, the S.C. General Assembly typically is in session from January until June.
- During that time, any member can propose or sponsor a new law called a “bill.”
- To begin the process, a new bill is read before the entire House or Senate, depending upon where it originated.
- The bill is then sent to a committee comprised of members of the originating body. The committee works to evaluate the effects of the bill on the state and its citizens.
- Once evaluation is complete, the committee can change the bill, reject it, or accept it. If a bill is accepted or “passed” by the committee, it is then sent to the full body for a vote.
- Once a bill has passed one body of the General Assembly, it is then sent to the alternate body and undergoes the same review and approval process.
- When a bill has passed both bodies of the South Carolina General Assembly, it is sent to the Governor for his review.