SC Legislative Update
By Ben Homeyer
Senate Finance passed their version of the budget this week with the intent of the full Senate debating the measure beginning next week. Items of note in the budget are dollars for the Be Pro Be Proud program at SCDEW. $40 million to build all new rest areas on the Highways of the State. $17 million for workforce development. And numerous special projects including dollars to build new convention centers in Greenville and Columbia, infrastructure projects in Spartanburg and money for the closing fund at Commerce which goes to economic development. Also this week, those that are dealing with unemployment issues SCDEW has put back in place measurers for those receiving unemployment to have mandatory job searches to continue to receive benefits. Since covid those provisions have been suspended.
Bills and Legislation
S147 Covid Liability
The Covid Liability legislation which the CRMCA has supported since the beginning of the process made it thru a critical full committee vote in House Judiciary and is one step closer to becoming law. The bill which would provide protection from covid related lawsuits for those companies that followed best practices received the support of the House leadership and was adopted 22-1. The bill was immediately taken up by the full House on Thursday and adopted 89-19. Once ratified next week it will go to the Governor for his signature.
H3689 Registration of Commercial Vehicles
The Senate approved H3689 (regarding the international registration plan). This bill would provide that if a commercial motor vehicle is registered through the international registration plan and is operated under a United States Department of Transportation (US DOT) number assigned to a person other than the vehicle’s owner, then the person to whom the US DOT number is assigned may register the commercial motor vehicle by submitting the appropriate application and fees to the Department of Motor Vehicles. This bill codifies existing agency procedures.
H3194/S464/S475 Santee Cooper Reform
For those that have been following the Santee Cooper Sale/Reform plan it took a major step forward today with Reform. The Senate passed H3194 which would overhaul how Santee Cooper operates. Included in the bill are new reporting requirements for the agency. They will have new requirments for the board in reporting to both the General Assembly and the PSC depending on the issue. Board member requirements to serve as well as their removal process. Rate making decisions and bonding capacity were also a part of the bill. The bill will go back to the House which favored a more aggressive sale plan. This bill will most likely continue in to the summer before becoming law.
Daily covid cases continue to stay moderate in the State. All South Carolinians now over the age of 16 are eligible to receive the vaccine. The State has removed the Johnson and Johnson vaccine from the rotation of vaccines being offered to citizens. To date 2,657,512 citizens have received at least one vaccine. This accounts to 27.2% of the population. 39.8% of residents have received at least one vaccine.