By Copper Dome Strategies
Friday, May 1, 2020
Gov. Henry McMaster renewed his State of Emergency Order on Monday afternoon that will be in effect another 15 days. The accelerateSC Committee is recommending opening restaurants in mid-May.
The leaders of the General Assembly announced the House and Senate will return to Columbia on May 12.
South Carolina’s public schools will remain closed for the remainder of the academic year.
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Senate President Pro Tem Harvey Peeler (R-Gaffney) and House Speaker Jay Lucas (R-Hartsville) announced the General Assembly will return to Columbia on Tuesday, May 12. The legislative session is scheduled to adjourn Sine Die on May 14. It is expected they will adopt a Continuing Resolution to provide for the operation of state government beyond June 30 in the absence of a state budget for FY20-21. It is also likely they will adopt a Sine Die Resolution that would allow the bodies to extend the regular legislative session an additional two weeks until May 28.
Gov. McMaster had previously written to the leadership of the House and Senate offering to call them back in for a Special Session in June, at a date and time of their choosing, for the purpose of passing a Continuing Resolution for the operation of state government beyond June 30 if they were not able to reach an agreement prior to May 14.
House Speaker Lucas and House Regulations and Administrative Procedures Committee Chairman Chip Huggins (R-Lexington) announced this week the formation of a House COVID-19 Small Business Regulatory Relief Committee.
Speaker Lucas said that small businesses are the lifeblood of this state and he wants this committee to evaluate the disruptions caused by the pandemic and to review all existing regulations and identify ways to provide relief to those businesses. He further noted that regulatory issues cannot be allowed to be a barrier to the reemergence of these essential businesses.
The committee will hold a virtual meeting Monday at 2 p.m.
The subcommittees of accelerateSC met this week to discuss potential recommendations to the governor on getting the economy moving again. Gov. McMaster announced the creation of accelerateSC as a coordinated economic revitalization plan involving leaders of small and large businesses, healthcare professionals, local government officials and education professionals. The plan consists of five components of analysis and effort: Response, Protection, Governance, Resources and Information. These components will employ maximum communication, collaboration and cooperation among themselves and those assisting to effectively identify issues, solutions and assets necessary for a phased revitalization path for South Carolina’s economy, guided by healthcare and medical data.
The governor designated a state agency to coordinate each of the revitalization components; other identified state agencies are assisting. The accelerateSC participants will make immediate, intermediate and long-term recommendations to the governor for revitalizing and expanding South Carolina’s economy while protecting the health of citizens.
On Monday, the Governance Committee reviewed potential regulatory or legislative changes that might be needed. They included mechanisms for local governments to deal with their budget challenges and potential regulatory relief for higher education institutions. Many of the higher education regulatory relief recommendations have been proposed to the legislature in the past. Of note: Serving on the Governance Committee are Dr. Mary Thornley, president of Trident Technical College, and Knox White, Greenville mayor and Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd attorney (Copper Dome Strategies is a subsidiary of Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd).
On Tuesday, the Protection Committee discussed identifying protocols for practical implementation in the workplace and public, testing and contact tracing, supply of personal protective equipment and long-term mitigation efforts to ensure economic revitalization.
On Wednesday, the Response Committee discussed identifying challenges related to workforce capacity, workforce re-entry, critical industries, capital requirements, regulatory issues and supply chain/logistics. The State Chamber of Commerce reported on a survey of its members that said financial issues and liability protections were a major concern of businesses moving forward. The Restaurant and Lodging Association recommended reopening restaurants for outdoor dining on May 4 and dining-in on May 18 as long as those restaurants adopt best practices for keeping staff and customers safe.
Thursday’s meeting of the Resources Committee focused on identifying challenges faced by state and local governments, educational institutions, emergency services and first responders to proceed with economic revitalization.
South Carolina already received $1.996 billion in federal funds from the CARES Act. These funds are to be used for necessary expenditures related to the response to COVID-19. These funds are largely for the public sector, including higher education, but are not to be used to supplant or replace revenue.
Much of the discussion centered on expanding broadband statewide for both remote learning and Telehealth. With 407,000 individuals now receiving unemployment compensation in South Carolina, a large portion of the funding may also go to the Department of Employment and Workforce to help relieve the burden on employers.
Dr. Tim Hardee, President of the State Board for Technical and Comprehensive Education, told the committee the technical college system has incurred $3.5 million in direct COVID-19 expenses and estimates the colleges will need another $51 million for additional expenses by the end of the year.
Gov. McMaster has challenged the committee to be creative and collaborative and noted many of their recommendations may lead to permanently lifting some of the restrictions and red tape that have come to light during the pandemic. The full committee is scheduled to meet next Tuesday at 2 p.m.
For more information about accelerateSC and its members, visit the governor’s website here.
The Department of Education has created AccelerateEd, a task force comprised of educators and administrators representing all aspects of the K-12 public education system. The task force is charged with studying barriers to school operations and student learning during the COVID-19 pandemic and providing recommendations on how schools and districts can best restart in the fall. For more details, go here.
Gov. McMaster on Monday extended the State of Emergency for another 15 days. The governor also ordered that local elections set for May be postponed, according to the State Election Commission. New dates have not been announced.
To view the governor’s previous Executive Orders, go here.
The Medical University of South Carolina is offering free Telehealth consultations and screenings for anyone in South Carolina experiencing COVID-19-like symptoms. New and existing patients should use the promo code COVID19.
For more information from DHEC on the virus, go here. The DHEC Care Line is available to provide general information about COVID-19 by calling 855.472.3432 from 8 a.m.-6 p.m., seven days per week.
Other helpful links:
The Emergency Management Division provides links to important information, including the South Carolina Department on Aging, SC Childcare, the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce, the Department of Revenue and the South Carolina Department of Insurance.
Small business information and assistance can be found at the South Carolina Department of Commerce.
Information for parents, teachers and students regarding statewide school closures can be found at the SC Department of Education.
For resources that might be beneficial to your organization’s preparedness efforts, visit the COVID-19 Resources page of Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd PA. (Copper Dome Strategies is a subsidiary of the law firm).
South Carolina Health Alert Network
South Carolina COVID-19 Emergency Supply Sourcing & Manufacturing
Reminder: Wash your hands. Cover your nose and mouth when you cough. Stay home if you’re sick.
JOINT BOND REVIEW COMMITTEE
The Joint Bond Review Committee (JBRC) will meet on Wednesday, May 6, for its first meeting since the legislature canceled all meetings in March. The meeting will be held on the Zoom virtual conferencing platform. The committee will discuss bond refinancing, leases and state permanent improvement projects. A livestream of the meeting will be found on the Statehouse’s website.
We will keep you apprised as to any updates regarding the state’s response to the Coronavirus pandemic and the actions of the General Assembly.
Look to SCACPA’s ‘The View from the Dome’ for State House Developments on Tax Issues Through SC’s 2020 Legislative Session. Sine Die adjournment is scheduled for May 14.
Jan. 10: South Carolina’s Pending Tax Bills and Your 2020 Legislative Preview
Jan. 17: Gov. McMaster’s Executive Budget Calls for Tax Cuts, Rebates for Taxpayers
Jan. 24: McMaster’s State of the State Emphasizes Tax Cuts, Rebates, Teacher Raises; Business License Tax Talks Continue
Jan. 31: House Subcommittee Hears Budget Request from SC Chief Justice to Improve Case Management System
Feb. 7: Senate Finance Committee Approves Business Personal Property Bill for DOR Filing
Feb. 14: Board of Economic Advisors Announces Largest Budget Surplus in SC History
Feb. 21: House Floor Debate is Up Next for Budget After Ways and Means Committee Plan Adopted
Feb. 28: House Members Have Upcoming Week to Study Budget Before Floor Debate
March 6: Education Reform Bill Moves from Senate to House; DHEC Tells of Coronavirus Resources
March 13: Senate Bills Make Progress for Conformity, Business Personal Property and Business License Tax Reform
March 20: A Look Inside the $45M COVID-19 Relief Package for DHEC; Return of Legislators is on Hold
March 27: Legislative Session Remains Postponed; Candidate Filing Period Ends on March 30
April 3: General Assembly Will Convene for One Day on April 8; State Elections Leader Suggests List of Voting Adjustments
April 10: Here are Details of General Assembly’s Unresolved Continuing Resolution Situation for State Operations Budget
April 17: McMaster Announces ‘Accelerate South Carolina’ Revitalization Plan, Details to Come
April 24: accelerateSC Revitalization Task Force Goes to Work