2016 Legislative Wrap Up

Elections have consequences

The 2015-2016 Legislative Session was full of healthcare issues, from the expected to the surprising. Everything from the growth of telehealth to end-of-life care was addressed by the legislature, while other major issues like Medicaid expansion and Certificate of Need reform were debated at length. SCHA worked diligently to prevent legislation that would be harmful to hospitals and their workforce and supported many bills to improve financial and operational conditions for member hospitals. The scope of healthcare issues is enormous, and as hospitals change we are expanding the scope of legislation we watch and act on. To see all of the bills we monitored, opposed, or supported over the last year and how each affect South Carolina hospitals, read our 2016 Legislative Wrap Up.

 

What’s important to remember as you read the wrap-up, though, is that what happens in November could make all the difference next year. As reported in the June 17 issue of The Pulse, the 2016 primary elections for the SC Senate and House were very interesting, with 13 races ending in campaign run-offs that ultimately resulted in the upset of four incumbent senators. Please read the July 1 issue of The Pulse for details about those outcomes. For a list of general election races please refer to the SC House general election candidates. We will provide more detail about the general election this fall.

 

A number of candidates elected in the June primary have no opposition and will be the lone candidate on the ballot in the fall. We strongly encourage you take time during the legislative interim to reach out to these legislators-elect who will assume their official role after receiving the oath of office. Please contact the Advocacy Team to help get the ball rolling.

 

Here is a list of the Senator- and Representative-Elects after the primary, followed by their party and county, and who held that seat during the last term.

 

Senators-Elect: Rex Rice (R-Pickens) (L. Martin); Scott Talley (R-Greenville, Spartanburg) (Bright); Wes Climer (R–York) (Hayes); Stephen Goldfinch (R-Charleston, Georgetown, Horry) (Cleary); Sandy Senn (R-Charleston, Dorchester) (Thurmond).

 

House of Representatives-Elect: Jason Elliott (R–Greenville) (Nanney); Josiah Magnuson (R–Spartanburg) (Brannon); Will Wheeler (D-Kershaw, Lee, Sumter) (G. Brown); Bart Blackwell (R–Aiken) (Wells); and Katie Arrington (R-Charleston, Dorchester) (Horne).

 

Nationwide, 34 of the 100 Senators are up for re-election in November. Incumbent Republican Senator Tim Scott will face Democratic challenger Thomas Dixon and third party candidates Bill Bledsoe (Libertarian/Constitution), Jim Hinkle (American), and Rebel Michael Scarborough (American). The seat currently held by Republican Senator Lindsey Graham will not be up for election until November 3, 2020.

 

All 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives are up for re-election. Only three of South Carolina’s seven congressional districts have general election challengers in November. Upsets are unlikely in the general election as all three districts strongly lean Republican. 

 

Presidential election years lead to increased voter interest and turnout, which affects not only the executive and legislative branches of government, but also the judicial branch. The outcome of the 2016 Presidential election is of great consequence to the nation’s High Court as the power to appoint US Supreme Court Justices is vested in the President, subsequent to confirmation by the Senate. 

 

With the vacancy left last November by the passing of well-respected, conservative Justice Antonin Scalia, the eight-member High Court is now divided evenly between conservatives and liberals. Heightening the implications of the 2016 race is the refusal of the Republican-controlled Senate to consider President Obama’s current nominee. This creates a scenario where the next president could have as many as four nominations at his or her discretion, considering the ages of service of some current justices.

 

Ultimately, the next President will shape some of the nation’s most significant issues on social norms, individual rights, balance of government powers and business and workplace matters; and with life tenure, decisions of future Justices will likely remain in place for the next 30 years. Click here to sign up for the SCHA grassroots advocacy efforts and get state and federal updates directly to your inbox.

 

Documents and Resources