The South Carolina Senate passed its version of the state's $9 billion budget after a sometimes fierce two-day debate.
Lawmakers approved the spending plan 38-6 Thursday evening after roughly 10 hours of debate.
The Senate approved key measures crafted by House budget writers including $159 million allocated to raise teacher salaries by 4% and provide a 2% cost of living raise for state workers.
Lawmakers also approved raises for judges and law enforcement.
"The other thing I'm proud of is we focused on knowing there's a teacher crisis, my mother taught public education, elementary school for 44 years. What the Senate did was raise the starting pay for teachers to 35,000. A bigger increase in the first 4 years to retain the teachers in that time we're losing them and a 4 point 2 percent raise for the teachers at the top," said Republican Senator Shane Martin after the budget passed.
"I'm most proud of the teacher pay raise, 4 percent pay raise for teachers, there's a pay raise in there for state employees. The funding in education particularly, we increased funding for higher education and we put some money, 15 million in the base student cost," added Senator Nikki Setzler the Democratic minority leader.
Setlzer added that he hopes the money the Senate added to base student cost will make it through the committee conference process.
Also, senators appeared to agree with the House on how to spend the state's $60 million lottery tax windfall, which came from the winning $1.5 billion dollar Mega Millions ticket being sold in the state.
Governor Henry McMaster urged the General Assembly to use the money to send tax payers a $50 refund, which the Senate approved as a part of the budget.
A few senators attempted to redirect the money to other items, but all those amendments failed.
"I think it's in both versions of the bill, so it will be some type of rebate in the final version in all probability. That's not guaranteed, it's just a matter of how much," Setzler told WLTX after the vote.
Senators largely punted on controversial topics like abortion limits, the potential sale of Santee Cooper, and what to do with Denmark Technical College.
Members of the Senate will send their version of the budget back to the House where they will either concur with the Senate's changes or make additional adjustments of their own.