S.C. Rep. Murrell Smith, R-Sumter, greets legislators just before being sworn in as House speaker in April. | Credit: Travis Bell, Statehouse Carolina.


Freshly re-elected House Speaker Murrell Smith has reshaped leadership on House committees as he put his personal stamp on how the Republican-dominated chamber would be led.

“It is our essential duty to come here, come together and find a way to work for the people of this state, not only for some, not only for our voters, not only for our areas… but for the entire state,” Smith said in a statement. The Sumter Republican first was elected speaker in April after the retirement of former Speaker Jay Lucas.

Major committee chairs named last week during reorganization of the House include:

Ways and Means.  Rep. Bruce Bannister, R-Greenville, who will chair the powerful budget-writing Ways and Means Committee.  Smith is the previous chair.

3M.  Rep. Sylleste Davis, R-Berkeley, who will chair the House Medical, Military, Public and Municipal Affairs Committee, formerly chaired by Democratic Rep. Leon Howard.  Without him as a chair, the House no longer has any Black lawmakers as head of a committee.  Howard and former Judiciary Chair Chris Murphy, R-Dorchester, were appointed to Ways and Means, which is seen as a step up to some because that committee allocates state spending.

Judiciary.  Rep. Weston Newton, R-Beaufort, a former chair of the committee, took the big seat again after Murphy reportedly requested a switch.

Education.  Rep. Shannon Erickson, R-Beaufort, takes over for former Rep. Rital Allison, R-Spartanburg, who retired.

Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs.  Rep. Bill Hixon, R-Aiken, will take over for Rep. Davey Hiott, a Pickens Republican who now chairs the House GOP Caucus.

Chairs of other standing committees include:

  • Ethics: Rep. Jay Jordan, R-Florence.
  • Interstate Cooperation: Rep. Mark N. Willis, R-Greenville.
  • Invitations and Memorial Resolutions: Rep. Dennis C. Moss, R-Cherokee.
  • Labor, Commerce and Industry: Rep. Bill Sandifer, R-Oconee.
  • Legislative Oversight: Rep. Jeff Johnson, R-Horry.
  • Operations and Management: Rep. Patrick Haddon, R-Greenville.
  • Regulations and Administrative Procedures: Rep. Jeff Bradley, R-Beaufort.
  • Rules: Rep. Anne Thayer, R-Anderson.

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