South Carolina State Senate
|South Carolina State Senate|
|2013 session start:||January 8, 2013|
|Website:||Official Senate Page|
|Senate President:||Glenn McConnell, (R)|
|Majority Leader:||Harvey Peeler, (R)|
|Minority leader:||John Land, (D)|
| Democratic Party (18) |
Republican Party (28)
|Length of term:||4 years|
|Authority:||Art III, Sec 1, South Carolina Constitution|
|Salary:||$10,400/year + per diem|
|Last Election:||November 6, 2012 (46 seats)|
|Next election:||November 8, 2016|
|Redistricting:||South Carolina Legislature has control|
Article III of the South Carolina Constitution establishes when the South Carolina State Legislature, of which the Senate is a part, is to be in session. Section 9 of Article III states that the Legislature is to convene on the second Tuesday of January each year. Section 9 allows the General Assembly to recede from session for up to thirty days by a majority vote of the legislative house seeking to recede. Furthermore, one or both houses can recede from session for more than thirty days if that action is approved by two-thirds of the members.
- See also: Dates of 2013 state legislative sessions
In 2013, the Legislature will be in session from January 8 through June 6.
Due to a hacker successfully stealing the personal information of 6.4 million people from the state's Department of Revenue computer system, computer security will be a top priority. Other issues include improving the state's roads and bridges and addressing healthcare.
- See also: Dates of 2012 state legislative sessions
In 2012, the Senate was in session from January 11 through June 7.
Legislators addressed a budget surplus of $900 million. Major agenda issues included tax reform, job security measures, reforming the state retirement system, and creating a new school funding formula.
- See also: Dates of 2011 state legislative sessions
In 2011, the Senate was in regular session from January 11 through June 2.  On June 2, Governor Nikki Haley attempted to call the Legislature into an "emergency" special session to begin on June 7 to create the new South Carolina Department of Administration. A lawsuit was filed by Senate President Pro Tem Glenn McConnell, in which he contended that Haley's call for a special session was unconstitutional, and that it violated the state Constitution's requirement of separation of powers among the governor, legislature and courts.  On June 6, the South Carolina Supreme Court ruled 3-2 against Governor Haley, stating that her order violated the Legislature's ability to set its calendar and agenda. 
- See also: Dates of 2010 state legislative sessions
The following table details the 10 districts with the smallest margin of victory in the November 6 general election.
|2012 Margin of Victory, South Carolina State Senate|
|District||Winner||Margin of Victory||Total Votes||Top Opponent|
|District 10||Floyd Nicholson||7.1%||37,852||Jennings McAbee, Sr.|
|District 23||Katrina Shealy||7.4%||32,735||John Knotts|
|District 35||Thomas McElveen||9.7%||40,997||Tony Barwick|
|District 41||Paul Thurmond||11.6%||49,968||Paul Tinkler|
|District 20||John Courson||21%||42,923||Robert Rikard|
|District 26||Nikki Setzler||21%||36,177||Deedee Vaughters|
|District 2||Larry Martin||29.1%||37,285||Rex Rice|
|District 12||Lee Bright||29.1%||44,583||Henri Thompson|
|District 7||Karl Allen||31%||33,651||Jane Kizer|
|District 28||Greg Hembree||32.4%||39,499||Butch Johnson|
South Carolina did not hold any State Senate elections in 2010.
To be eligible to serve in the South Carolina State Senate a candidate must be:
- A U.S. citizen at the time of filing
- 21 years old at the filing deadline time
- A resident of the district at the filing deadline time
If there is a vacancy in the Senate, a special election must be held to fill the vacant seat. If candidates plan to seek the nomination through a party convention, the filing period begins on the third Friday after the vacancy happened. The qualifying deadline is ten days after the filing period opens.
If a candidate plans to seek the nomination via petition, all signatures must submitted to the appropriate filing officer no later than sixty days before the election. All signatures must be verified by the filing officer no later than 45 days before the election.
A primary election must be held on the eleventh Tuesday after the vacancy occurs. If necessary, a primary runoff must be held on the thirteenth Tuesday after the vacancy occurs. The special election is held on the eighteenth Tuesday after vacancy occurs. No special election can be held less than 60 days before the general election.
The Legislature is tasked with legislative redistricting. In particular, the Senate Judiciary Committee has the responsibility of setting criteria for new districts.
South Carolina's population grew 15.3 percent to 4.6 million, making it the 10th fastest growing state in the country. However, this led the state's majority-minority districts to pale in light of the ideal district sizes (37,301 for the House and 100,551 for the Senate). On June 15, 2011, both chambers passed Senate-originated maps, and the U.S. Department of Justice cleared the maps in November 2011. As of July 2012, a federal decision upholding the maps was being appealed by the state Democrats; the 2012 elections are not affected.
- See also: Comparison of state legislative salaries
As of 2013, members of the South Carolina Legislature are paid $10,400 a year during legislative sessions. Legislators receive $131 a day for meals and housing for each statewide session day and committee meeting. Per diem is tied to the federal rate.
When sworn in
South Carolina legislators assume office the Monday after the election.
- See also: Partisan composition of state senates
|Party||As of May 2013|
|Current Leadership, South Carolina State Senate|
|President of the Senate||Glenn McConnell||Republican|
|State Senate President Pro Tempore||John E. Courson||Republican|
|State Senate Majority Leader||Harvey Peeler||Republican|
|State Senate Minority Leader||Nikki Setzler||Democratic|
List of current members
State Senate Committees
The South Carolina State Senate has 15 standing committees:
- Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, South Carolina State Senate
- Banking and Insurance Committee, South Carolina State Senate
- Corrections and Penology Committee, South Carolina State Senate
- Education Committee, South Carolina State Senate
- Ethics Committee, South Carolina State Senate
- Finance Committee, South Carolina State Senate
- Fish, Game and Forestry Committee, South Carolina State Senate
- General Committee, South Carolina State Senate
- Interstate Cooperation Committee, South Carolina State Senate
- Invitations Committee, South Carolina State Senate
- Judiciary Committee, South Carolina State Senate
- Labor, Commerce and Industry Committee, South Carolina State Senate
- Medical Affairs Committee, South Carolina State Senate
- Rules Committee, South Carolina State Senate
- Transportation Committee, South Carolina State Senate
Partisan balance 1992-2013
From 1992-2013, the Democratic Party was the majority in the South Carolina State Senate for the first nine years while the Republicans were the majority for the last 13 years. South Carolina was under Republican trifectas for the final 11 years of the study.
Across the country, there were 541 Democratic and 517 Republican state senates from 1992 to 2013.
Over the course of the 22-year study, state governments became increasingly more partisan. At the outset of the study period (1992), 18 of the 49 states with partisan legislatures had single-party trifectas and 31 states had divided governments. In 2013, only 13 states have divided governments, while single-party trifectas held sway in 36 states, the most in the 22 years studied.
- ↑ List of state legislative term limits
- ↑ List of state legislative term limits
- ↑ Population in 2010 of the American states
- ↑ Population in 2000 of the American states
- ↑ WJBF, "South Carolina Lawmakers Start Legislative Session Vowing To Protect Your Information And Improve Roads," January 8, 2013
- ↑ The State, "Legislative key issues," January 8, 2012
- ↑ 2011 Legislative Sessions Calendar, NCSL
- ↑ The State, Haley tells court she has right to call special session, 6 June 2011
- ↑ Wltx.com, SC Supreme Court Rules Against Nikki Haley's Extra Session, June 6, 2011
- ↑ TheSunNews.com, The Carolinas | S.C. House to have special session in June, 6 May 2011
- ↑ The Island Packet, S.C. Senate OKs new congressional districted anchored in Beaufort County, June 29, 2011
- ↑ 2010 session dates for South Carolina legislature
- ↑ Qualifications for running for South Carolina State Senate
- ↑ South Carolina State Legislature "South Carolina Code"(Referenced Statute 7-13-190 (A)-(B))
- ↑ 15.0 15.1 South Carolina State Legislature "South Carolina Code"(Referenced Statute 7-13-190 (B))
- ↑ The State, "Democrats appeal redistricting lawsuit," March 20, 2012. Retrieved July 5, 2012.
- ↑ NCSL.org, "2012 State Legislator Compensation and Per Diem Table," accessed March 18, 2013
- ↑ South Carolina Senate Leadership
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