SC Legislative Update
By Ben Homeyer
The General Assembly has had limited meetings over the past few weeks. The House is continuing to crisscross the state on redistricting meetings and taking public input on the issue. The Senate has only had meetings on alternative forms of treatment for covid and potential ways to slow the spread. I have been having conversations with the AGC’s and Home Builders about PACE funding and legislation for building in the future. I am also having conversations with the AGC’s about weight limits as farm vehicles are getting an increase in their weight limits.
The dominoes are starting to fall on mask ordinances. First the city of Cayce then West Columbia then the city of Columbia and now all Richland County has a mask ordinance in place as of September 15th. The county mask ordinance will require all businesses inside county limits to require their employees to wear masks or face $100 fine per instance. Charleston has taken a first vote on a mask ordinance similar to that of Richland County. The second vote will occur on September 20 and that is expected to pass as the first vote was 10-3 If it passed on the 20th it would go into immediate effect for 60 days.
The governor has continued to state that he will not have a statewide mask mandate and the general assembly has continued to stay out of session which leaves the temporary law in place that states a mask mandate paid for with public funds is not allowed and will continue to remain in force.
The number of cases is continuing to stay high across the state with on average over 4000 cases a day being reported. As of today, roughly 9900 deaths due to covid have been reported and the percent positive is hovering around 13%. 31 of the hospitals in the state are seeing staffing shortages while they are seeing patient numbers increase. SCDHEC continues to be the best source of information for state and local information on Covid-19.