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South Carolina General Assembly
Frequently Asked Questions


When is the Legislature in Session?
Where does the Legislature meet?
Who can be a Legislator?
How much do Legislators get paid?
How many Legislators are there?
Who is my Legislator?

 

When is the Legislature in Session?

Annual Sessions - The South Carolina Legislative Session begins on the second Tuesday of January of each year and has no limitation as to the length of the session, Article III, Section 9 of the South Carolina Constitution. However, Section 2-1-180 of the South Carolina Code of Laws, 1976, provides that the General Assembly shall adjourn sine die not later than 5:00 P.M. on the first Thursday in June except when an extension is voted by a two-thirds vote of both Houses.


STATE CONSTITUTION
ARTICLE III.
LEGISLATIVE DEPARTMENT

SECTION 9.
Sessions of General Assembly.

The annual session of the General Assembly shall convene at the State Capitol Building in the City of Columbia on the second Tuesday of January of each year. After the convening of the General Assembly, nothing in this section shall prohibit the Senate or the House of Representatives, or both, from receding for a time period not to exceed thirty consecutive calendar days at a time by a majority vote of the members of the body of the General Assembly seeking to recede for a time period not to exceed thirty consecutive calendar days, or from receding for a time period of more than thirty consecutive calendar days at a time by a two-thirds vote of the members of the body of the General Assembly seeking to recede for more than thirty consecutive calendar days at a time. Each body shall sit in session at the State Capitol Building in the City of Columbia and may provide for meetings during the legislative session as it shall consider appropriate. Furthermore, the Senate or the House of Representatives, or both, may meet on the first Tuesday following the certification of the election of its members for not more than three days following the general election in even-numbered years for the purpose of organizing. If the casualties of war or contagious disease render it unsafe to meet at the seat of government, the Governor, by proclamation, may appoint a more secure and convenient place of meeting. Members of the General Assembly shall not receive any compensation for more than forty days of any one session. (1976 (59) 2213; 1977 (60) 10; 2007 Act No. 13, Section 1, eff April 26, 2007.)

STATE CODE OF LAWS TITLE 2 - GENERAL ASSEMBLY
CHAPTER 1 - GENERAL PROVISIONS


SECTION 2 1 180.
Adjournment of General Assembly.

The regular annual session of the General Assembly shall adjourn sine die each year not later than 5:00 p.m. on the first Thursday in June. In any year that the House of Representatives fails to give third reading to the annual General Appropriation Bill by March thirty-first, the date of sine die adjournment is extended by one statewide day for each statewide day after March thirty-first that the House of Representatives fails to give the bill third reading. The session may also be extended by concurrent resolution adopted by a two- thirds vote of both the Senate and House of Representatives. During the time between 5:00 p.m. on the first Thursday in June and the extended sine die adjournment date, as set forth herein, no legislation or other business may be considered except the General Appropriation Bill and any matters approved for consideration by a concurrent resolution adopted by two-thirds vote in both houses.

Extra Sessions - The Governor “may on extraordinary occasions convene the General Assembly in extra session,” Article IV, Section 19 of the South Carolina Constitution. Should either House remain without a quorum for five days, or should the two Houses disagree as to the time of the adjournment, the Governor may adjourn them to such time as he shall think proper, Article IV, Section 19 of the South Carolina Constitution.


STATE CONSTITUTION ARTICLE IV.
EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT

SECTION 19.

Extra sessions; Governor may adjourn General Assembly. The Governor may on extraordinary occasions convene the General Assembly in extra session. Should either house remain without a quorum for five days, or in case of disagreement between the two houses during any session with respect to the time of adjournment, he may adjourn them to such times as he shall think proper, not beyond the time of the annual session then next ensuing.

Where does the Legislature meet?

As cited in Article III, Section 9 of the South Carolina Constitution, “the General Assembly shall convene at the State Capitol Building in the City of Columbia”. The State Capitol Building is also commonly referred to as the State House; and, it houses the Senate and House of Representatives Chambers, the Governor’s Office, and the Lieutenant Governor’s Office. It is located at 1100 Gervais Street at the intersection of Main and Gervais Streets. Admission to the State House is free and the building hours are:

Monday-Friday from 9:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M.
Saturday from 10:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M.
1st Sunday of each month from 1:00 P.M. to 5:00 P.M.

Legislative offices for Members of the General Assembly and legislative staff are in buildings surrounding the State House. Members of the House of Representatives and staff are housed in the Solomon Blatt Building. Members of the Senate and staff are housed in the L. Marion Gressette Building.

Visit our explore the state house page to access directions to the State House and legislative buildings and to tour the building and grounds.

Who can be a Legislator?

Article III, Section 7 of the South Carolina Constitution states the following qualifications:

  • must be duly qualified electors in the district in which he may be chosen;
  • must be a legal resident of the district in which he is a candidate at the time he files for the office;
  • Senators must be at least 25 years of age;
  • Representatives must be at least 21 years of age;
  • must not have been convicted of a felony under state or federal law. (see Article III, Section 7 below for details)


STATE CONSTITUTION ARTICLE III.
LEGISLATIVE DEPARTMENT


SECTION 7.
Qualifications of members of Senate and House of Representatives.

No person is eligible for a seat in the Senate or House of Representatives who, at the time of his election, is not a duly qualified elector under this Constitution in the district in which he may be chosen. Senators must be at least twenty-five and Representatives at least twenty-one years of age. A candidate for the Senate or House of Representatives must be a legal resident of the district in which he is a candidate at the time he files for the office. No person who has been convicted of a felony under state or federal law or convicted of tampering with a voting machine, fraudulent registration or voting, bribery at elections, procuring or offering to procure votes by bribery, voting more than once at elections, impersonating a voter, or swearing falsely at elections/taking oath in another’s name, or who has pled guilty or nolo contendere to these offenses, is eligible to serve as a member of the Senate or the House of Representatives. However, notwithstanding any other provision of this Constitution, this prohibition does not apply to a person who has been pardoned under state or federal law or to a person who files for public office fifteen years or more after the completion date of service of the sentence, including probation and parole time, nor shall any person, serving in office prior to the ratification of this provision, be required to vacate the office to which he is elected. (1997 Act No. 3, Section 1, eff March 25, 1997; 1999 Act No. 12, Section 1, eff April 28, 1999.)

How much do Legislators get paid?

As cited in Article III, Section 9 of the South Carolina Constitution, “Members of the General Assembly shall not receive any compensation for more than forty days of any one session.” Compensation is:

  • $10,400 annually
  • subsistence expenses per day for session, except days when local uncontested matters are considered
  • travel expense for distance traveled going to and returning from Columbia on weekend adjournments (See Article III, Section 19 of the South Carolina Constitution for details)
  • $600 per session for postage
  • $1,000 per month in-district expense.


STATE CONSTITUTION
ARTICLE III.
LEGISLATIVE DEPARTMENT

SECTION 19.

Mileage; increase of per diem; compensation during extra session. Each member of the General Assembly shall receive such mileage allowance for the ordinary route of travel in going to and returning from the place where its sessions are held as the General Assembly may provide by law; no General Assembly shall have the power to increase the per diem of its own members; and members of the General Assembly when convened in extra session shall receive the same compensation as is fixed by law for the regular session.

How many Legislators are there?


  • The Senate is composed of 46 Senators elected to serve for terms of 4 years. (See Article III, Section 6 of the South Carolina Constitution)
  • The House of Representatives is composed of 124 Representatives elected to serve for terms of 2 years. (See Article III, Sections 2-4 of the South Carolina Constitution)

STATE CONSTITUTION
ARTICLE III.
LEGISLATIVE DEPARTMENT

SECTION 6.
Senate.

The Senate shall be composed of one member from each County, to be elected for the term of four years by the qualified electors in each County, in the same manner in which members of the House of Representatives are chosen.


STATE CONSTITUTION
ARTICLE III.
LEGISLATIVE DEPARTMENT

SECTION 2
House of Representatives.

The House of Representatives shall be composed of members chosen by ballot every second year by citizens of this State, qualified as in this Constitution is provided.

SECTION 3.
Number of members; enumeration of inhabitants.


The House of Representatives shall consist of one hundred and twenty- four members, to be apportioned among the several Counties according to the number of inhabitants contained in each. Each County shall constitute one election district. An enumeration of the inhabitants for this purpose shall be made in the year Nineteen hundred and One, and shall be made in the course of every tenth year thereafter, in such manner as shall be by law directed: Provided, That the General Assembly may at any time, in its discretion, adopt the immediately preceding United States Census as a true and correct enumeration of the inhabitants of the several Counties, and make the apportionment of Representatives among the several Counties, according to said enumeration: Provided, further, That until the apportionment which shall be made upon the next enumeration shall take effect, the representation of the several Counties as they now exist (including the County of Saluda established by ordinance) shall be as follows: Abbeville, 5; Aiken, 3; Anderson, 5; Barnwell, 5; Beaufort, 4; Berkeley, 4; Charleston, 9; Chester, 3; Chesterfield, 2; Clarendon, 3; Colleton, 4; Darlington, 3; Edgefield, 3; Fairfield, 3; Florence, 3; Georgetown, 2; Greenville, 5; Hampton, 2; Horry, 2; Kershaw, 2; Lancaster, 2; Laurens, 3; Lexington, 2; Marion, 3; Marlboro, 3; Newberry, 3; Oconee, 2; Orangeburg, 5; Pickens, 2; Richland, 4; Saluda, 2; Spartanburg, 6; Sumter, 5; Union, 3; Williamsburg, 3; York, 4; Provided further, That in the event other Counties are hereafter established, then the General Assembly shall reapportion the Representatives between the Counties.

SECTION 4.
Assignment of representatives.

In assigning Representatives to the several Counties, the General Assembly shall allow one Representative to every one hundred and twenty-fourth part of the whole number of inhabitants in the State: Provided, That if in the apportionment of Representatives any County shall appear not to be entitled, from its population, to a Representative, such County shall, nevertheless, send one Representative; and if there be still a deficiency in the number of Representatives required by Section third of this Article, such deficiency shall be supplied by assigning Representatives to those Counties having the largest surplus fractions.

Who is my Legislator?

The “give me a hand” section of this site provides a link to “How can I find my legislators?” that will guide you to finding YOUR Senator and Representative. This link features a legislator search based upon your 9-digit zip code. If you do not know it, there is an additional search available using your home address to retrieve your 9-digit zip code.


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