Throwback Thursday: Anything can happen in a special session

June 6, 2019

Inside Insight

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South Carolina Senate

This week, legislative leaders called for a special session later this month, ostensibly to address the governor’s budget vetoes. However, it’s important to note that a special session is an opportunity for lawmakers to do practically anything they want. While technically the General Assembly is limited to only a handful of topics, the first of those topics is amending the terms of the sine die resolution – a loophole that makes the special session limit virtually meaningless.

This week’s throwback is a cautionary tale on how special sessions can be used to ram through controversial legislation. On October 29, 2009, the General Assembly passed the Boeing incentives package in a special session, using legislation that was originally a simple private property assessment bill. On the first day of the two-day special session, lawmakers struck and replaced the bill’s content with the Boeing incentives-package language, officially passing the legislation the following day.

Do lawmakers have anything like this up their sleeves for the upcoming special session on June 25? No one knows – and for that reason citizens need to be extremely vigilant.

Part 1: Inside the Boeing Deal

On a sunny December afternoon along Aviation Way at the Charleston International Airport, construction workers were speedily hauling away trees from a muddy football field-sized tract of land.

In less than two years, a massive steel building will rise at the site, housing what officials describe as one of the biggest economic prizes in the Palmetto State’s history – the Boeing Co.’s 787 Dreamliner assembly plant.

South Carolina lawmakers seemed euphoric when they unanimously passed legislation in a special session on Oct. 28 to clear the way for the Chicago-based company to land a final assembly plant in North Charleston, passing out special aerospace coins and lapel pins to commemorate the occasion.

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