Legislative Update: Week 3, 2021
February 1, 2021
Legislative Update: Week 5, 2021
February 15, 2021
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Legislative Update: Week 4, 2021

Legislative Update: Week 4, 2021

February is Black History Month. This month, we celebrate the accomplishments and contributions made by Black Americans who make our country and state a great place to live.

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This week, we wrapped up week #4of the 2021 session. I am happy to report lots of progress was made – from appointing new judges, to making progress in vaccinating our state, to advancing the Heartbeat Bill and much more.

COVID-19 Updates

As of February 2nd, South Carolina ranks 5th in the nation in getting vaccinations in arms. This is attributed to the hard work and collaboration of frontline workers, healthcare professionals, DHEC, the Governor, and all of my colleagues. Despite the hard work we have seen, we still have room to improve and we will continue to improve.

  • Governor McMaster announced that people aged 65+ will be allowed to receive the COVID-19 vaccination in South Carolina starting Monday, February 8th.
  • It was announced this week that 17 South Carolina CVS Pharmacies are now offering over 15,000 COVID-19 vaccinations to eligible individuals beginning February 11th. Appointments will be available as early as Feb. 9th. Find a location near you here: http://cvs.co/39EU4aB
  • As of Thursday, February 4th, 777,250 vaccinations have been received for distribution from the federal government; 439,888 vaccinations have been put in arms.
  • Right now, we are in Phase 1A. If you meet any of the following criteria you can make an appointment to get your COVID-19 vaccine:
    • Frontline healthcare workers
    • Anyone 70+ years
    • Anyone 65+ years (beginning Feb 8th)
  • State/local government employees who perform COVID-19 vaccinations and testing in SC
  • A full list of those eligible to receive the vaccine can be found here: https://scdhec.gov/covid19/covid-19-vaccine

Judicial Hearings

On Wednesday, members of the Senate joined my colleagues and me in the House chamber to vote on 22 judicial positions. The South Carolina Constitution requires judges to be elected by members of the General Assembly in a Joint Assembly. Prior to being judicial candidates, individuals seeking judicial office are screened by a committee to ensure they are upstanding citizens and possess the competency and qualifications necessary to serve on the bench. Congratulations to all the newly appointed judges!

Heartbeat Bill

Last week, the Senate passed the Heartbeat Bill. This is exciting news, as last year, my colleagues and I worked hard to pass a similar bill which never made it out of the Senate. The bill is now in the House Judiciary Committee and I am hopeful it will soon be on the House floor. I am looking forward to voting YES on this bill and passing it on to Governor McMaster, who has committed to sign it into law.

Education

Although this year has been a challenging year for both educators and students, it has brought many areas of weakness to our attention. Last year, we began an overhaul of education legislation with a few large bills. This year, we are breaking down the bills. Through this, I am hopeful that more legislation will pass, and we can get students to where they need to be. This week I was proud to vote in favor of legislation that does the following:

  • Reduces the amount of literacy screening and testing for Kindergarten-3rd grade
  • Provides screening tools and services to help identify dyslexia and other reading disorders in students
  • Revises the criteria for retention ensuring students are reading on grade level before promotion
  • Provides reading and literacy coaches to schools who have below average achievement in English/Language arts
  • Establishes “Schools of Innovation” in multiple South Carolina school districts. to allow for more flexible models

COVID-19 Resources

In the News

Other Important Links:

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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