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Regular session ends but South Carolina lawmakers will be back soon

The General Assembly will finish passing bills close to the finish line, finalize the state budget, and they'll likely address abortion laws in July.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — While the South Carolina Legislature's regular session is over, state lawmakers still have plenty of work ahead of them in the coming months.

State lawmakers worked to try to pass new laws during this recent two-year session. Thursday, May 12 marked the end of that time period, meaning any bills that didn’t pass by the deadline are dead and will need to be re-introduced next year.

In the last week of session, the state House of Representatives and Senate worked feverishly to pass as much as possible; including a bill that will allow women to get birth control directly from pharmacies, and new early voting rules.

News19 spoke to election experts like Lynn Teague with the League of Women Voters on Thursday about the new early voting law. "Early voting does not give an advantage to one party or another, it is completely neutral in terms of outcome. All it does is make it easier for voters," explained Teague.

RELATED: Here's where noteworthy bills in the South Carolina legislature stand right now

Many bills didn’t make it, including an effort to fire USC’s board of trustees and another that could've legalized medical marijuana. “We spent a lot of time on medical marijuana, I’m disappointed that didn’t work out,” Senate Majority Leader Shane Massey told reporters after session ended.

Looking ahead, lawmakers will be back in June to finish passing bills that are close to the finish line. They’ll also finalize the state spending plan for the year ahead, which includes tax relief and potential teacher salary increases.

In July, state lawmakers will likely come back to respond to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on Roe v. Wade regarding abortion rights.

RELATED: Clarence Thomas says abortion leak has changed Supreme Court

Senate Minority Leader Brad Hutto said Thursday, "we’re waiting to see what the Supreme Court does. If Roe is upheld, we probably will not come back on that issue. If Roe is overturned, we will come back.”

If lawmakers come back to address abortion laws this summer, they have the option of introducing new legislation on the matter. 

RELATED: Two weeks of no-excuse, in-person early voting signed into law in South Carolina

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