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March 16, 2020
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May 19, 2020
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Legislative Update: Week 10, 2020

Legislative Update: Week 10, 2020

Overview

The past week we have all had to adapt to the “new normal” of social distancing, working from home, school closures, empty grocery stores, and new changes being implemented every day. I want to commend everyone for how you are handling these changes, the way our community is looking out for one another is one of the positives I have seen come out of this situation. Our executive branch, state agencies, and the legislature are working in sync to make the best decisions for the citizens of South Carolina. I have provided many state agency resources below to keep you up to date on important information. 

SCDHEC Funding: H. 4014

On Thursday, we returned for a special session to vote on a $45 million supplemental funding package to provide SCDHEC the funds to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. We quickly acted on Governor McMaster’s request to make funds available for DHEC and less than 15 minutes after we unanimously passed the legislation, Governor McMaster signed it into law. This is just the first step in what will be a long journey of protecting the citizens of our state in combating COVID-19. 

This legislation appropriates $45 million from our Contingency Reserve Fund that is saved for emergencies like this and transfers it to the Executive Budget Office for use by DHEC:

–       Staffing ($14,598,760): DHEC needs additional staffing to support COVID-19 disease surveillance and contact investigation, laboratory testing, and information phone lines.

–       Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) ($14,806,800): PPE for DHEC’s healthcare workers to prevent spread of infection.

–       Staff Support ($5,282,420): Operating costs such as technology, lab supplies and reagents, travel, and facility cleaning.

–       Education Campaign ($2,500,000): Support for TV/Radio airtime and printed materials.

–       Quarantine ($1,703,580): Cost to quarantine and support indigent patients.

–       Transportation ($1,394,958): Cost to courier lab samples and distribution of items from the Strategic National Stockpile.

–       Contingency ($5,000,000): We have built in about 10% for unanticipated costs or changing assumptions based on disease spread.

This package also instructs DHEC to provide oversight and reporting of their expenditures to the State’s Executive Budget Office. We will continue to monitor the situation and do everything we can to provide financial assistance to those affected by COVID-19.

COVID-19 Resources:

For the latest up-to-date information, visit:

www.coronavirus.gov

For general questions about COVID-19, call the DHEC Care Line at 1-855-472-3432. Staff are answering calls from 8am to 6pm every day.

For SCDHEC updates, visit:

www.scdhec.gov/covid19

For the latest news from the Governor including his executive orders, visit:

www.governor.sc.gov

Free Online COVID-19 Screenings (all use promo code “COVID19”)

 – MUSC- https://campaigns.muschealth.org/virtual-care/index.html

 – Prisma Health – https://www.prismahealth.org/virtual-visit/

 – McLeod Health – https://www.mcleodhealth.org/services/care/telehealth/

 – Roper St. Francis – https://www.rsfh.com/virtualcare/ 

Department of Education – All public schools are closed through March 31st

https://ed.sc.gov/newsroom/covid-19-coronavirus-and-south-carolina-schools/

Commission on Higher Education – Gov. McMaster recommended that all colleges and universities allow students to continue classes online for the duration of the semester.

https://www.che.sc.gov/HOME/Coronavirus(COVID-19)Information.aspx

Department of Revenue – Tax extensions because of COVID-19

https://dor.sc.gov/emergencies

Small Business Association – Disaster assistance loans of up to $2 million for affected businesses

https://www.sba.gov/page/coronavirus-covid-19-small-business-guidance-loan-resources

Department of Employment and Workforce – Collecting unemployment because of COVID-19

https://dew.sc.gov/covid-hub

Information on avoiding Coronavirus scams from FTC https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2020/02/coronavirus-scammers-follow-headlines

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.

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