SC Legislative Update 4/30/20
By Ben Homeyer
Today’s AccelerateSC meeting was all about spending. The resources group took center stage with the Full Committee being pushed to next week. How dollars that came in from the Federal Government were spent and how they will continue to be spent. The job of the sub is to provide transparency with the dollars. From PPE equipment for hospitals, to schools, to counties getting dollars. Greenville was the largest recipient amongst government entities (not the state of SC) as the only County over 500,000 they got a direct infusion of $91 million. All the expenditures had to be covid related. When they discussed internet usage and trying to make changes so all students had broadband they found that over 100,000 housholds with students had little to no internet access at home and that dollars will need to be allocated to fix that problem. Marica Adams with the Department of Administration said the backbone build out is $80 million minimum and then to get it run to all houses would be several hundred million more. Local government (counties and cities) were criticized by former Senator Ryberg who is chairing the sub for asking for too many funds. Senator Ross Turner wants to make sure that of the almost 2 billion the state got that SCDEW and the UI trust fund gets money to make sure that small businesses that are out there and all business really do not have to ask the feds for dollars to replenish the trust fund over what is not their fault. Speaker Pro Tem Pope would like a repository of information of where a restaurant can go or another small business can go as to what is a minimum to re-open. The hope is that DOA would be that portal and they hope to have it ready by next week. The full group will be meeting Tuesday afternoon.
As I mentioned in the morning note today the House announced they would be back May 12 -14. They will not be having committee meetings. They also left open the option to come back for two more weeks after that. After that letter came out the Senate put out their own letter that they too would be coming back the 12-14 but also stated they WILL BE in session the following two weeks with a planned new sine die of May 28th. They did not make any mention of committee hearings. The Senate still has the state budget to write and both bodies have numerous legislation to consider from Business license fees to Santee Cooper reform. The current Sine Die resolution which was debated several weeks back stated that any bill which passed one body would still be viable. It leaves hundreds of pieces of legislation as both stand alone bills and viable options to be stripped and replaced with other pieces of legislation. It could be a mad sprint for several weeks.