Legislative Update: Week 1, 2021
Overview of the week:
This week, we began the 1st regular session of the 124th General Assembly. I was ready to be back in our state capital and am hopeful for a productive 2021! After the rollercoaster ride of 2020, this year is the perfect year for reform, transparency, and accountability. This week, we hit the ground running. So far, over 900 bills have been prefiled and many were introduced this week. Although there is a lot of excellent conservative legislation this session, I am most excited about the items below, which help further our Conservative Republican agenda, particularly education and law enforcement.
COVID-19 Adjustments and Virtual Committee Meetings:
Our aim is to run the government like a business. This means we want to protect our employees while still getting our job done efficiently to improve the state of South Carolina. We will be flexible and take whatever steps necessary to keep our colleagues, staff, and everyone else involved in the legislative process safe. By a vote of 104-2, the House has passed a rule change to allow committees to meet virtually in extraordinary circumstances, such as during a pandemic. Although this is not ideal, this will ultimately save resources and ensure all members are kept healthy and safe.
Governor McMaster’s State of the State Address:
On Wednesday night, Governor Henry McMaster gave his annual State of the State address. I joined him in praying for and honoring the members of law enforcement that we have lost this year and thanking the many frontline workers who have made huge sacrifices during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our state experienced tough times during the pandemic. South Carolina had to slow down but never stopped; we never completely shut down. Since, we have regained over 80% of jobs lost due to the pandemic. McMaster broke down several aspects of his conservative Executive Budget, which included even more COVID-19 relief for our state. Governor McMaster addressed other important goals, such as education. He aims to have students back in the classroom 5 days a week, in which there would be a nurse, school resource officer, and mental health counselor always readily available to them. He emphasized the importance of parents having the choice to send their child to whatever school they feel is best. Until then, he emphasized the importance of expanding broadband internet to rural areas of South Carolina, so students and parents can effectively work from home. Other agenda items I am particularly glad he mentioned included the Heartbeat Bill to outlaw abortions in SC, funding and proving better mental health resources to law enforcement, and putting an end to the corruption behind Santee Cooper. Finally, he shared his goal to restructure DHEC to make it more accountable to the people of South Carolina. After all we have gone through as a state in the past year, he reminds us that this year is a good year for reform, transparency, efficiency, and accountability. We have seen violence, lawlessness, and rage, but the Governor reminds us that we are all on the same team, working towards the same goal of making South Carolina a better place to live.
– Gov. Henry McMaster and DHEC announced that beginning Wednesday, Jan. 13, any South Carolina resident aged 70 or older, regardless of health status or preexisting conditions, can begin scheduling their appointment to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Vaccines can ONLY be administered by appointment. Use scdhec.gov/vaxlocator to see locations accepting appointments for COVID-19 vaccine. Pick a location and call the phone number listed to make an appointment. Visit https://scdhec.govfor more information.
– SBA loans are available to qualifying businesses and help businesses keep their workforce employed during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. Visit this website for more information about how your business can qualify: https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/loans/coronavirus-relief-options/paycheck-protection-program#section-header-0
-For other helpful COVID-19 resources, visit the Accelerate SC website: https://accelerate.sc.gov
Other Important Links:
-For updates from the Governor, visit: https://governor.sc.gov
-To track a bill, live stream session or meetings, and other information, visit the State Legislature website: https://www.scstatehouse.gov/index.php.
-To download the SC Legislature Mobile app for iOS and Android devices, search “SC Legislature” on the App Store/Google Play.
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.