SC Legislative Update
by Ben Homeyer
Both bodies are heating up redistricting. The Senate just concluded ten meetings all over the state to get input and the House is holding meetings both in Columbia and abroad. These meetings will help determine the political lines. Both bodies will begin to redraw districts in the coming weeks.
On August 15 two different laws went into effect. The driving on Right Hand Driving bill became active. For those traveling on the highways of SC you are now required to just use the left-hand lane for passing. Signage has been posted along the roadways and a $25 fine can be assessed. For the first several months warnings will be given.
In addition to the road bill the open carry law has also gone into effect. Those South Carolinians with a valid CWP license may now carry openly in the state. Businesses may still state that weapons are not allowed on premises.
S675 the Municipal airport bill is being ceremonial signed into law on August 16th. This legislation is designed to maximize federal dollars for airport construction projects. The state had a 10% match provision to receive 90% from the Federal Government and the FAA. Items such as concrete runways, air traffic control towers and buildings at the airport would all be eligible.
The House will be taking up their version of the ARPA funding provisions this week. These dollars from the Feds which total over $2.5 billion can be used for any number of covid related items.
Covid-19 numbers continue to rise again in the State. For the past week SC has averaged over 3,000 new cases a day with one day in the last week topping 4,500. At this point just under 46% of South Carolinians are vaccinated and the current positive test rate stands at 14.5%. Currently the Governor has no plans to re-institute mask mandates although local governments are considering them and many are putting them back in place.. A proviso in the state budget also prohibits K-12 and Higher Education institutions in the state from having mask mandates. The city of Columbia instituted a mandate for the 43 public schools within city limits and it has caused the state Attorney General to file a cease-and-desist order. Schools in most counties are scheduled to begin this week. One county that began two weeks ago has already gone to a virtual learning plan as over 5% of the district has tested positive.