SC Legislative Updates as of February 12, 2021
Activity Updates – SC
Budget – The House Ways and Means Committee will begin full debate on the budget beginning March 2nd. This is a change as of 2/10 because on the 15th of this month they are expecting a revised estimate from the Board of Economic Advisors. It is expected to take a week and then the bill will be sent to the full house for debate the week of March 22nd. The State is still working with a surplus of both recurring and non-recurring dollars. In talking with legislators it is expected that the BEA will show an increase in dollars when they meet on the 15th. Part of the non-recurring dollars ($206 million) is already being set aside for covid related issues. The SCDOT has not asked for new dollars but a number of proviso changes. They reported that they are not experiencing any slowdown on projects because of covid.
Bills and Legislation – SC
H 3689 Registrations for commercial vehicles – This bill would provide that if a commercial motor vehicle is registered through the international registration plan and is operated under a United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) number assigned to a person other than the vehicle’s owner, then the person to whom the USDOT number is assigned may register the commercial motor vehicle by submitting the appropriate application and fees to the Department of Motor Vehicles.
H 3017 Changes to scholarships which will put more people in the tech system which gets them to us quicker – This bill would provide that two-year institutions of higher learning and technical colleges be among institutions of higher learning whose students may be eligible for Palmetto Fellows Scholarships. This will allow more students access to the technical colleges that could not previously afford it. The technical colleges have the programs in which the industry draws large numbers of employees.
Cross Island Expressway – For those that are in the Hilton Head area the Cross Island Parkway which is the lone toll road in the low country it was announced that on July 1 the toll will go away. Its mission has been fulfilled and under state law they must now get rid of the tolling aspect and open the road to everyone.
DHEC Separation – The discussion about splitting DHEC in to two or three agencies is gaining steam. President of the Senate Harvey Peeler is leading the charge. The Healthcare side would become their own agency with air quality, water quality and other parts of DHEC being split between DNR and Agriculture. The SC Manufacturers and State Chamber are opposed to the split from the environmental side and the medical community is against the measure from the Health Side. Something we need to monitor closely as a lot of the permitting for our members runs thru DHEC.
COVID – SC
As of February 8th SCDHEC, is adding all citizens over 65 to the 1A classification. This will bring the total of folks up to 1.3 million people. As of this writing roughly 400,000 folks have received their first vaccination. The state is currently receiving 65,000 vaccines a week so it will be several months before they get thru 1A. In addition, there is legislation working its way thru the statehouse that could add 100,000 teachers and support staff. Legislators feel moving them up in the pecking order can help SC get to full five day for school which then helps the economy. The Governor has stated he is against moving teachers in to 1A
S147 in full – COVID Liability Legislation – A Senate Judiciary Sub-Committee took up S.147. a Joint Resolution to enact the “South Carolina COVID-19 Liability Safe Harbor Act.” After testimony by myself and many others in the business community last week the bill made its way out of sub and is now in the Full Committee. After much debate between the business community led by Senator Shane Massey and the trial bar we believe we have come to a compromise that will provide protections for those businesses that were good actors and did the right thing when open during COVID. The bill was passed out of the full committee on February 11th and will debated the week of the 15th by the full Senate. It is expected to be highly contentious. The House has their own version of the bill but is expected to take up the Senate version should it pass.