The S.C. General Assembly passed scores of new laws this year, some of which take effect Monday with the July 1 start of the state’s 2019-20 budget.
Here is a rundown of those changes and how they will affect South Carolinians.
PAY RAISES FOR STATE EMPLOYEES
The state’s 32,000 employees will get at least a 2% pay raise, starting in July.
On top of that, workers who earn less than $70,000 a year also will get a one-time $600 bonus.
Lawmakers are spending an extra $61 million this year on the raise and one-time bonus in an effort to retain state workers who have complained their low pay leads to high turnover and poor morale.
Most state employees haven’t had a raise in two years.
TEACHERS WILL GET AN EVEN BIGGER PAY RAISE
Improving South Carolina’s struggling public schools was the No. 1-stated priority of the General Assembly this year.
While state lawmakers failed to pass comprehensive education reform, they did agree to spend roughly $159 million more a year, starting July 1, to raise teacher pay in an effort to keep frustrated educators from fleeing the profession.
The money will raise pay for all 52,000 public school teachers in South Carolina by at least 4%.
Younger, less experienced teachers will get bigger raises than their more experienced counterparts as lawmakers seek to attract new educators and keep them in the classroom. The raise also will bump first-year teachers’ salaries by nearly 9.4% – to $35,000.
Teachers who choose to be paid only during the academic year – and not the summer – will see the increase in their paychecks when students return to school in August.