SC Legislative Update

By Ben Homeyer

Week of September 1, 2021

Activity Updates

William B. Dukes of Chapin has been named to the SCDOT Commission, representing the Second Congressional District.

Dukes is the owner of Blue Marlin Restaurant and Signature Catering.  He is a graduate of the University of South Carolina with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration. Dukes received an ROTC commission in the US Air Force. A Vietnam veteran, he served in the US Air Force for four years and attained the rank of Captain.

Dukes was appointed by Governor Henry McMaster earlier this year to fill the seat formerly held by John Burriss.  He was confirmed by members of the Second Congressional Delegation. 

Senate ARP Subcommittee Hears from SCDOT.  The special Senate Finance subcommittee tasked with vetting the American Rescue Plan (ARP) funding allocations heard from SCDOT on their request for funding.  Part of the plan included reimburses state and local governments for revenues lost due to the pandemic, which means locals can fund road projects with ARP funding.  The state estimates a total revenue loss of $453 million due to COVID, which includes the SCDOT’s estimated $156 million loss. 

Secretary of Transportation Christy Hall urged the subcommittee to put ARP funds towards widening I-26 between Columbia and Charleston.   Governor McMaster in the final AccelerateSC report also recommended using dollars for the widening project.  

The House and Senate ARP committees are continuing to meet on a weekly basis.  

Governor McMaster concluding the meeting of his AccelerateSC group which is also looking at how to allocate the ARP dollars.  They came up with a 19-point plan for the money.  Dollars include grants for small business, the above-mentioned DOT projects, money for local government, tens of millions for both k-12 and higher education in the state, and updates to the state port.  The full report and all nineteen recommendations can be found here.  accelerateSC Report.ARPA_.pdf.  I would encourage you all to take a look as it has some area specific information.  

House Leadership announced the current plan is to come back in to session the last week of September and the first week of October to take up issues.  

Covid Update

Covid-19 numbers continue to spike upwards.  For the past week SC has averaged close to 5000 new cases a day with one day in the last week topping 7,000.  At this point just under 48% of South Carolinians are vaccinated and the current positive test rate stands at 12.5%.  While schools are operating on a full schedule individual schools across the state are doing full quarantines for two weeks as the number of students and faculty with a positive rate is above accepted numbers.  In addition, Greenville County School district and Lexington one school district have put out a call for any CDL drivers that want to drive school buses as they each have over 100 drivers in quarantine or have left the workplace.  Both are saying it could hours to the ride times for students.  An in-depth look at covid numbers can be found on DHEC’s website.  Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) | SCDHEC