SC Legislative Update 5/12/20

By Ben Homeyer

There is a lot of information that went back and forth today.  Far below is information from the Senate re-opening committee.  The group plans to meet numerous times over the next several weeks.  Also today.  The General Assembly passed a Continuing Resolution.  The CR will allow the state to operate after June 30 under the current years budget as a new budget will not be adopted by then.  The Sine Die resolution that the House adopted from the Senate has a hard return date of Sept. 15 thru the 24th.  But the Speaker made mention that between May 15 and and Sept. 15 they can be called back at any point and also from Sept. 24th to Nov 9th which is right before the next election date (numerous Senators are planning for the body to be called back in June to look at covid related legislation.) Any bill that passed from one body to the other before 5:00 on May 14th 2020 is still viable, as are the budget, vetoes and bills related to covid-19.  Speaker Lucas stated that he and President Peeler plan to call members back and make up the two months of session that was missed.  Committee hearings can take place during that time.  Bills can certainly be amended on to other bills which met the criteria.  So basically everything is going to have to be watched as it is all viable.  Both bodies moved a ton of legislation that was both on the calendar and those that were pulled from committee.  If there are any questions about specific pieces of legislation please don’t hesitate to call

Senator Davis kicked it off with what information they received from the Accelerate Group.

Lot of discussion about Liability and a limited safe harbor and how legislation will be needed.  If a company follows best practices will they be insulated from lawsuits?  A lot of broad discussion but not drilled down.

Turner talked about how the industries really came out to develop safe ways to re-open

Broadband was discussed again and how it is really needed for both health and education purposes across South Carolina

Turner also discussed how in 07-08 business was saddled with replenishing the UI trust fund and how that can’t happen again.

It was also brought up how 50k students in the state have not been heard from at all since school was dismissed.  6% of the student body.  (he expects a huge emphasis on this when schools re-open)

It was also brought up that dollars from the feds can not be used to replace revenue that could have been earned.

Senator Shealy brought up how there is no information from regular folks.  “Where is Johnny who didn’t’ get his unemployment or his money from the feds to keep his restaurant open”

We also need to have a plan for the next time this happens.

Sheheen talked about how this has to be people focused and not just business.  We need to make sure the individual is not left behind.

  1. Tests need to be available for anyone who needs/wants one
  2. Voting needs to be looked at.  Elderly, folks that are afraid, send absentee to anyone over 65, make voting easier
  3. We have to get kids back in school.  Both k-12 and higher education.  But keeping young kids home for another semester will be damaging to them long term.  How do we get them there.  How do we keep them safe.

Not just short term fixes but a framework for access to healthcare, broadband, testing, voting, and any practical impediments to fix South Carolina long-term needs to be part of the charge for the committee.

Davis wants to know if the process will allow for legislation to be taken up right away via unanimous consent or will bills have to go thru committee.

Davis also would like to have a number of bills drawn up to have discussed in June if/when the GA comes back that month.