Legislative Update
May 3, 2021
Legislative Update- May 17, 2021
May 17, 2021
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Legislative Update- May 10, 2021

THANK YOU TEACHERS

They say to teach is to touch a life forever. Last week was ‘Teacher Appreciation Week’. Thank you to South Carolina’s invaluable educators. Not only do they teach, but many serve as great role models for our children. Thank you for all that you do!

BREAKING NEWS: SC Returns to Pre-Pandemic Unemployment Program 

In order to address ongoing workforce shortages throughout South Carolina, Governor Henry McMaster directed the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce to discontinue South Carolina’s participation in all federal, pandemic-related unemployment benefit programs. This takes effect June 30, 2021. There are currently 81,684 open positions in the state of South Carolina. With this, I am hopeful South Carolinians will be encouraged to get back to work. 

Read more here: https://governor.sc.gov/news/2021-05/south-carolina-return-pre-pandemic-unemployment-program-address-workforce-shortages

Week at a Glance 

We are edging closer to the Sine Die deadline, with just one week left to-go. We wasted no time this week, taking up some of our state’s most pressing issues, such as Santee Cooper, the death penalty, and bringing new business to South Carolina. As we move into next week, I am excited to finish strong after a very successful year of conservative legislation. As always, it is an honor to serve our district and if you have any questions about what we are doing in Columbia, feel free to contact me. 

Cheers! Gallo Wine Comes to SC

Wine connoisseurs and business communities alike are saying ‘cheers!’ this week, as we passed S. 619. This bill alters our state’s archaic liquor laws and will allow for standalone tasting rooms and fewer regulations on micro-distilleries in SC. A huge success for SC, this bill ushers in a major, international economic player and world-wide wine brand to South Carolina. E & J Gallo Winery will invest over half a billion dollars and 500 jobs in Chester County, SC where they plan to build their winery. I look forward to seeing how our state and local economies will grow because of this new law.

When Lethal Injection Supply is Low…

Under current law, those convicted of a heinous crime and sentenced to death, are likely to spend the rest of their life waiting on death row due to the lack of availability of lethal injection materials. Not only is justice not being served for the victims and their families, but State resources are being wasted. This week, the House passed S. 200, a bill that allows electrocution when lethal injection is not available. The firing squad was also added into the bill, as we work to find the most humane and quick way to serve justice. I supported this bill, which passed on Wednesday. 

Once and For All: Santee Cooper

The issue of reforming Santee Cooper has been ongoing for years, and this week, the House passed amendments on a bill that outlines reform, governance, and a sale process. This ensures that there is transparency and accountability in the agency — ensuring that every ‘i’ is dotted and each ‘t’ is crossed. This bill prescribes a process for how the agency should operate, allowing for oversight from the government and transparency for ratepayers. Although there is no offer on the table from a buyer right now, it is important that we do not tie our hands and limit future possibilities, which is why there is also a sale amendment that outlines how that process might work. We passed this on Tuesday, but our amendments were rejected by the Senate. The bill will now go to a conference committee, where members of the House and Senate will meet to find compromise on the issue. 

Other Legislative News

S. 231 Suicide Prevention Hotline – We passed a bill that ensures the National Suicide Hotline is printed on school issued student ID cards in public schools and public and private colleges in South Carolina. 

S. 689 Income Tax Filing Deadline –  On Wednesday, the House passed a joint resolution to extend the income tax filing due date until the same date as federal returns and payments are due.

Weekly COVID-19 Update

–       South Carolina is in Phase 1C of the vaccination process. Under these guidelines, anyone 16+ is eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine with an appointment. 

–       Visit https://scdhec.gov/covid19/covid-19-vaccine/covid-19-vaccine-appointments to make a vaccination appointment at a provider near you.

–       42.6% of South Carolina citizens have started the vaccination process. 32.9% of SC citizens are fully vaccinated. 2,998,076 vaccines have been given to South Carolina residents to date.

–       Want to see how our area is doing in the fight against COVID-19? Visit the interactive ‘Vaccination Dashboard’ by following this link, https://scdhec.gov/covid19/covid-19-vaccination-dashboard.

–       For other FAQs regarding the COVID-19, use the DHEC issued fact sheet here: https://scdhec.gov/sites/default/files/Library/CR-012857.pdf

*Numbers updated May 6th. 

COVID-19 Resources and Helplines: –       DHEC Care Line: 1-855-472-3432 –       COVID-19 Vaccine Information Line: 1-866-365-8110 –       Find a vaccine location near you here: https://vaxlocator.dhec.sc.gov –       Information about qualifying for SBA loans: https://www.sba.gov/page/coronavirus-covid-19-small-business-guidance-loan-resources –       Mental health/substance abuse services related to COVID-19: 1-844-724-6737 –       For other COVID-19 resources, visit the Accelerate SC website: https://accelerate.sc.gov –       To see if you may qualify for unemployment, visit: https://dew.sc.gov –       For updates from the Governor, visit https://governor.sc.gov

It is an honor and a privilege to serve you in Columbia. If you need help navigating state government, or have any thoughts or concerns about what we are doing, please do not hesitate to contact me.