| Credit: Sean Rayford file photo

They’re back: State lawmakers will open their 2022 session today with the familiar issues of the COVID-19 pandemic and bank accounts bursting with money. Both the House and Senate will gavel in at noon Tuesday, kicking off the second year of a two-year session that is expected to end mid May. Masks will not be required in either chamber, which will hold sessions in-person, despite the surge in cases around the state.

Meanwhile, Gov. Henry McMaster, on Monday, unveiled his proposal of how he thinks South Carolina should spend billions of dollars in extra dollars. The proposal includes a mix of familiar calls for tax cuts, but also new proposals like bonuses for school bus drivers, cash to expand election audits and money to replace the state’s aging health lab.

More: AP News, The Post and Courier

In other headlines:

State saw 15% increase in human trafficking victims in 2021. S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson said more children were identified as victims of human trafficking in South Carolina in 2021 than ever before. There was a 15% increase in the number of victims reported to the National Human Trafficking Hotline, Wilson said in a Monday news conference. Human trafficking in modern-day slavery, where the victim is forced to perform sex work or other work. More: WISTV, The Post and Courier

Charleston Congressional district could favor Republicans. Under a S.C. House proposal redrawing voting lines for Congress based on population changes, the First Congressional District that represents the Lowcountry could favor Republicans instead of just leaning Republican. Approving the new district could come swiftly for the state legislature. More: The Post and Courier, AP News

Charleston school board stalls vote on Reimagine Schools. Charleston County School District trustees called off a vote on a proposal intended to improve struggling schools that critics have said would invite too much private involvement in public education. More: Charleston City Paper, The Post and Courier

Charleston, Richland counties to get more fed aid for rent. Residents of Richland and Charleston counties who have fallen behind on rent because of the COVID-19 pandemic may have access to millions in additional funds to help them pay off their rent. More: The State

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