Lots of money to spend as SC lawmakers start 2022 session

South Carolina News

South Carolina Rep. Stewart Jones, right, R-Laurens, waits to answer a question from House Minority Leader Todd Rutherford, left, D-Columbia, during a debate on a bill that would ban employers from requiring COVID-19 vaccines for workers on Thursday, Dec. 9, 2021, in Columbia, S.C. The bill went from a subcommittee to the House floor during a special session in less than 48 hours. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Collins)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina lawmakers return to Columbia on Tuesday with a lot of money to spend.

The General Assembly has some $4 billion extra to spend between the booming economy, federal COVID-19 relief money and money set aside in case the economy crashed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

There are plenty of suggestions ranging from widening Interstate 26 from Charleston to Columbia to building Interstate 73 to improving sewer systems and rural broadband internet access.

State employees and teachers want raises and the state health department says it needs a new lab.

Medical marijuana and a hate crimes bill also are likely to be debated in 2022.

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