By Copper Dome Strategies
Friday, Aug. 7, 2020
All remaining businesses that closed as the Coronavirus began spreading across South Carolina began to reopen this week. Legislative committees met to discuss broadband access, regulatory relief and COVID-19 testing and tracing efforts.
accelerateSC is a one-stop website to help businesses and citizens connect to important information during this crisis.
HOUSE COVID-19 EMPLOYMENT, WORKFORCE AND BUSINESS RECOVERY COMMITTEE
The House COVID-19 Employment, Workforce and Business Recovery Committee met again Thursday and adopted a final draft of their recommendations. The committee, chaired by Rep. Kirkman Finlay III (R-Columbia), was created by House Speaker Jay Lucas (R-Hartsville) to identify barriers to getting businesses and the workforce back to full capacity. Among the recommendations:
- Create a grant program to support small and minority-owned businesses
- Support the work of the Limited Liability Committee
- Continued support of funding for the Unemployment Trust Fund
- Support funding infrastructure efforts for broadband access in rural areas
- Expand efforts to make childcare facilities more accessible
- Create a study committee to review childcare services to expand affordable childcare options
- Support public/private partnerships for PPE for businesses, schools and childcare facilities
- Support the Agriculture Department’s “Buy Local” campaign
- Secure funding for expansion of culinary schools at Technical Colleges to retrain workers
- Support existing legislation for curbside pickup of alcohol beverages
The recommendations will now be sent to the House Speaker. To view the video archive of the meeting, click here.
SENATE RE-OPEN SC COMMITTEE
The Senate Re-Open SC Testing and Tracing Subcommittee met again Tuesday. The subcommittee heard presentations regarding efforts to date on COVID-19 testing with an emphasis on future actions needed to achieve mitigation and suppression strategies. The speakers included representatives from the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), the University of South Carolina and private sector labs.
Much of the discussion centered on disparate testing mechanisms and the desire of the committee to provide a recommendation to the General Assembly for a coordinated and collaborative statewide action plan moving forward. Subcommittee Chairman Tom Davis (R-Beaufort) asked the committee staff to provide a draft report for consideration by the subcommittee for its meeting next Wednesday. Committee handouts can be found here.
To view the video archive of the meeting, click here.
HOUSE COVID-19 PUBLIC EDUCATION COMMITTEE
The House COVID-19 Public Education Committee met again Tuesday. The committee was formed by House Speaker Jay Lucas (R-Hartsville) to evaluate disruptions caused by the pandemic and identify ways to provide relief in the K-12 system.
The committee received an update from State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman and her staff on Act 135, which allowed the Department of Education (DOE) additional authority relating to assessments and reporting, distance learning and programmatic and financial flexibility. The DOE waived state requirements for annual report cards and assessments, including college and career readiness assessments, canceled strategic plans, growth models and parent surveys.
Spearman noted she stands by her previous statement that a statewide one-size fits all plan for public schools reopening is not feasible. She said their surveys show that in some communities 80% of parents said they did not want their children returning to school, while in other communities reaction was the opposite. The same held true for teachers and administrators, with many wanting to get back and others fearful of returning. The DOE will be requesting the legislature allow the same authority provided in Act 135 for 2021 as well as flexibility on the earnings cap limitations for retirees.
The committee, chaired by Rep. Raye Felder (R-Fort Mill), will gather information and take testimony seeking recommendations to eliminate, suspend, or modify current statutes and regulations. To view the video archive of the meeting, click here.
JBRC BROADBAND OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE
The Broadband Oversight Subcommittee of the Joint Bond Review Committee (JBRC) met Tuesday. The JBRC is comprised of Senate and House members and is authorized to approve various capital projects. This subcommittee was created to begin assessing federal CARES Act funds to expand broadband access in rural areas.
The subcommittee received an overview of Act 142 of 2020 from Nanette S. Edwards, Executive Director of the SC Office of Regulatory Staff (ORS), which oversees broadband regulation. Edwards gave an update on hotspot procurement and distribution and progress to date on connecting students to broadband where possible. Currently, with hotspots and wired broadband, an additional 57,000 households have received service. The cost to date has been about $8 million and she estimates total costs in the $16 milion-$20 million range. The ability to cover the cost of the service terminates at the end of this year, so she hopes the new federal stimulus bill will provide money for the spring semester. ETV continues to experiment with and expand its datacast technology, but additional receivers will need to be purchased at a cost of $1.5 million.
The committee also received an update on Mapping and Infrastructure Deployment from Chris Rozycki, Broadband Project Administrator at ORS. He reported there are roughly 184,000 unserved households in SC and the new mapping system has targeted 556 areas that contain underserved households. Applications for providers to build out broadband service in the 556 areas should be available soon. The desire is to get projects lined up with no further delay pending a determination that the CARES Act funds cover the costs to build and the projects can be completed by the end of the year. This subcommittee intends to meet again in the coming weeks.
To view the video archive of the meeting, click here.
All remaining businesses that closed as the Coronavirus started spreading across the state began to reopen this past Monday. To view all of the governor’s previous Executive Orders, click here.
For more information from SC DHEC on the virus, click here.
The DHEC Care Line is available to provide general information about COVID-19 by calling 1-855-472-3432 from 8 a.m.-6 p.m., seven days a week.
COVID-19 Screening & Testing Sites
Other helpful links:
The Emergency Management Division provides links to important information, including the SC Department on Aging, SC Childcare, the SC Department of Employment and Workforce, the Department of Revenue and the SC Department of Insurance.
South Carolina Department of Commerce for small business information and assistance.
For additional resources that may be beneficial to your organization’s recovery efforts, visit Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd’s COVID-19 Resources page (Copper Dome Strategies is a subsidiary of HSB).
South Carolina Health Alert Network
South Carolina COVID-19 Emergency Supply Sourcing & Manufacturing
BUDGET – CONTINUING RESOLUTION
Continuing Resolution, H.3411 provides for the continued and uninterrupted operation of state government into the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2020. State government agencies are operating in FY21 with the same funding as they received in FY20. The General Assembly will return to Columbia on Sept. 15 to adopt a state budget for the remainder of FY20-21.
SINE DIE RESOLUTION
The General Assembly adopted a Sine Die Resolution, S.1194, which will allow them to continue past the mandatory May 14 Sine Die deadline to complete unfinished business.
Each House will stand adjourned to meet at the call of the President Pro Tem of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives. At this time, there are no plans to return until September. The resolution further authorizes the General Assembly to meet again in statewide session on Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020, at noon and continue in statewide session until Sept. 24, 2020, for the consideration of specific matters, including the annual General Appropriations Act.
Unless the session is otherwise adjourned Sine Die at an earlier date, the 2020 session of the General Assembly shall stand adjourned Sine Die not later than 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 8, 2020.
The Testing and Tracing Subcommittee of the Re-Open SC Select Committee will meet on Wednesday.
Thank you for following SCACPA’s ‘The View from the Dome’ for State House Developments on Tax Issues Through SC’s 2020 Legislative Session. Here is a review of our weekly updates.
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
May 1: General Assembly Set to Return to State House on May 12
May 8: Gov. McMaster Announces that Indoor Dining in SC Can Resume on May 11
May 15: General Assembly Passes Continuing Resolution for State Budget; Close-Contact Businesses Can Resume Monday, May 18
May 22: Restrictions Lift on Tourist Attractions on May 22, but Extended State of Emergency Remains until May 27
May 29: Gov. McMaster Will Now Review accelerateSC Committee’s Final Recommendations
June 5: House COVID-19 Liability Protection Committee Weighs Burdens of Potential Lawsuits for Struggling Businesses
June 12: Gov. McMaster Recommends Disbursal of $1.9B Coronavirus Relief Fund in Two Phases
June 19: Senate Finance Committee’s Plan for CARES Act Funds Includes $500M for Unemployment Trust Fund
June 26: $1.2B in Federal CARES Act Funding is Authorized
July 10: accelerateED Task Force Offers its Guidance for 2020-21 School Year
July 31: Board of Economic Advisors Anticipates SC’s 2019-20 Surplus as $220M
To keep up with the latest news of SCACPA Advocacy, turn to the SCACPA Blog and our social media outlets.