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Circuit Riders: South Carolina State Laws

Basic Legal Research Training

South Carolina's Legislative Process

South Carolina Bills
The process of passing a law in South Carolina begins with the introduction of a bill. A bill typically becomes law in South Carolina when it is passed by both the South Carolina House and South Carolina Senate and signed by the Governor.
The full text of South Carolina bills from 1980 forward are available to search (Legislation page) or browse (Archives page) online for free on the South Carolina Legislature website.


South Carolina Acts/Session Laws
Once a bill is passed by the South Carolina General Assembly, it is assigned an Act number and published in chronological order in the SC Acts and Joint Resolutions. The full text of South Carolina Acts from 1980 forward are accessible online for free through the Legislation and Archives pages of the South Carolina Legislature website


South Carolina Code Annotated
South Carolina laws are then organized by 
subject and arranged by title, chapter and section as statutes in the South Carolina Code Annotated.


For example, in 1986, the South Carolina General Assembly passed South Carolina's Payment of Wages laws, which were published in the South Carolina Code Annotated as Title 41 (Labor & Employment), Chapter 10 (Payment of Wages), Sections 10 through 110

Section 41-10-50 of the South Carolina Payment of Wages Laws requires South Carolina employers to pay all wages due a discharged employee within forty-eight hours or by the next regular payday.

 The legislative process for the passage of South Carolina’s Payment of Wages laws is shown in the diagram on the right.

1. During its 1986 session, the South Carolina General Assembly passed House Bill 2426.      

2. House Bill 2426 was published in chronological order in the SC Acts and Joint Resolutions as 1986 Act No. 380.

3. Act No. 380 was organized by topic in the South Carolina Code Annotated as Title 41 (Labor & Employment), Chapter 10 (Payment of Wages), Sections 10 through 110 (§§ 41-1-10 to 110).


The official South Carolina statutes are published in the print South Carolina Code Annotated.

The current "unofficial" and un-annotated South Carolina Code is accessible online for free via the South Carolina Legislature website.

Annotated versions of the South Carolina Code are available through subscriptions to Westlaw or LexisNexis. 

South Carolina Code Annotated



Print annotated codes add resources after the text of a statute to help you with further research on the issue addressed by that statute.

The annotations added to the text of a statute in the South Carolina Code Annotated include: 

  • cross references to related South Carolina statutes and regulations;
  • library and research references to journal articles, legal encyclopedias, ALR annotations, and other secondary sources and practice aids that discuss the legal issues addressed by that statute; and, 
  • summaries and citations to cases interpreting the statute.

The page on the right shows the annotations provided for section 41-10-50 of the South Carolina Payment of Wages Laws in the print South Carolina Code Annotated. They include:

  • a cross reference to a penalties statute; 
  • a library reference to the national encyclopedia Corpus Juris Secundum (C.J.S.);
  • research references to South Carolina Jurisprudence and employment law treatises; and
  • cases interpreting the payment of wages statute (see Notes of Decisions).








Citing South Carolina Statutes

The proper citation to a South Carolina statute includes that statute’s title, chapter, and section and the year of the volume or supplement where it is published in the South Carolina Code Annotated.

For example, South Carolina’s Payment of Wages statute referenced above would be cited as follows:

This citation indicates that currently the entire statute (§ 41-10-50) is published in a supplement to the bound volume that contains Title 41. The information in the parenthesis would be different if the statute appeared in the bound volume only [S.C. Code Ann. § 41-10-50 (1986).] or if portions of the statute appeared in both the bound volume and the supplement [S.C. Code Ann. § 41-10-50 (1986 & Supp. 2017).].

South Carolina Appellate Court Rule 268 governs the citation of South Carolina statutes. It is available via the Court Rules link on the South Carolina Judicial Department’s website.