Friday, June 19, 2020
The Senate Finance Committee met and adopted a plan to appropriate the federal CARES Act funds.
House and Senate committees met to draft legislation for limited liability protections.
The General Assembly will return to Columbia next week.
Primary election run-off races will take place on Tuesday, June 23.
SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE
The Senate Finance Committee met Wednesday and unanimously adopted a plan to authorize the reimbursement of funds received from the federal CARES Act. The plan originated from the recommendations of Gov. Henry McMaster’s accelerateSC task force and was further vetted by “Reopen South Carolina,” a Senate committee tasked with accepting recommendations made by the accelerateSC task force.
The committee agreed to authorize the funds in two phases. Phase one will be debated by the full Senate and House next week.
The adopted plan includes:
- $500 million for the Unemployment Trust Fund
- $270 million for State and Local Government Expenditures
- $222 million for summer academic recovery camps and five additional school days
- $125 million for a hospital relief fund through the state’s Department of Administration
- $82.2 million for higher education
- $50 million for internet broadband mapping and planning, infrastructure and mobile hotspots
- $42.4 million for the state’s Department of Health and Environmental Control for statewide testing and monitoring
- $16.8 million for the state Adjutant General’s emergency management division for PPE stockpile and supply chain
- $10 million for the third-party grant administrator firm, Guidehouse, that will vet, process and audit the federal relief funds
The General Assembly will reconvene June 23-25 to begin appropriating the funds, which is expected to be done in phases.
To see the plan, go here.
Following the meeting, the Reopen South Carolina Business Liability Subcommittee, chaired by Senator Tom Davis (R-Beaufort), met to discuss limited liability legislation to ensure struggling businesses and healthcare workers are not further burdened with the threat of lawsuits. Davis told the committee they are preparing to have a strike and insert amendment to a proposed House bill ready for debate next week.
PRIMARY ELECTION RUN-OFF RACES
Primary election run-off races will take place on Tuesday. Three incumbent legislators failed to garner 50.1% of the votes needed to win and will face a run-off on June 23.
- Senator Luke Rankin (R) District 33 in Horry County will face challenger John Gallman. Rankin has served since 1993 and is currently Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee
- Representative Neal Collins (R) House District 5 in Pickens County will face challenger Alan Quinn
- Representative Bill Chumley (R) District 86 in Greenville/Spartanburg will face challenger Chris Bennett
HOUSE EQUITABLE JUSTICE SYSTEM AND LAW ENFORCEMENT REFORM COMMITTEE
House Speaker Jay Lucas (R-Hartsville) announced Thursday he has created a special committee aimed at addressing ways to improve law enforcement policies in the state. The South Carolina House Equitable Justice System and Law Enforcement Reform Committee includes a bipartisan group of lawmakers who aim to bring reform to law enforcement statewide. The committee will examine the four following areas:
- law enforcement officer training, tactics, standards, and accountability
- civil asset forfeiture reform
- criminal process and procedure reform; and
- sentencing reform.
The committee will be co-chaired by Rep. Gary Simrill (R-York) and Rep. Todd Rutherford (D-Richland). There will be 18 members on this committee.
HOUSE COVID-19 LIABILITY PROTECTION REVIEW COMMITTEE
The House COVID-19 Liability Protection Committee met on Wednesday. The committee was formed by House Speaker Jay Lucas (R-Hartsville) to review potential legislation for liability protections for businesses and healthcare workers. Although the committee did not adopt legislation at this meeting, the members agreed to continue to work toward finalizing a bill before the General Assembly returns next week. The committee is chaired by House Speaker Pro Tem Tommy Pope (R-York).
HOUSE COVID-19 EMPLOYMENT, WORKFORCE AND BUSINESS RECOVERY COMMITTEE
House Speaker Jay Lucas (R-Hartsville) has formed another committee to examine ways to get South Carolina’s economy moving again. The House COVID-19 Employment, Workforce and Business Recovery Committee held its organization meeting this past Wednesday. The committee is being chaired by Rep. Kirkman Finlay, III (R-Columbia) and will work to identify barriers to getting businesses and the workforce back to full capacity. The committee will hear from stakeholders at the next meeting.
The accelerateED Task Force released a 202-page draft this week regarding guidance and recommendations to reopen schools in South Carolina for the 2020-21 academic year. The draft plan ultimately includes four phases, which looks closely at summer planning and preparation, pre-opening schools, and reopening schools and the continuity of operations.
The plan recommends three scheduling models for the upcoming academic year created due to the uncertainty of what health conditions will look like in August 2020. Schools will re-open with a continuum of options, including on-campus and remote learning. Operational levels should include:
- traditional models with fully open and operational with in-person instruction and social distancing
- hybrid operations with modified schedules and a portion of staff and students on site
- fully closed with all students served through distance learning
Each district should consult with relevant stakeholders, legal counsel and liability insurance carriers when making decisions impacting attendance or operations. Recommendations also include psychological counseling for students and the creation of mental health crisis response teams.
The Department of Education established the accelerateED Task Force comprised of educators and administrators representing all aspects of the K-12 public education system to study barriers to school operations and student learning during the COVID-19 pandemic and to provide recommendations on how schools and districts can best restart.
Guidance and recommendations for 2020-21 school year can be found here.
Summer learning and operations recommendations can be found here.
For more information, go to the SC Department of Education website here.
Gov. Henry McMaster provided his recommendations to the General Assembly last week for the expenditure of $1.9 billion received from the federal Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The recommendations were provided to the governor by the accelerateSC Task Force. The governor’s recommendations can be found here.
Gov. McMaster has once again extended the State of Emergency as South Carolina businesses continue to open. To view all of the governor’s previous Executive Orders, go here.
For more information from SC DHEC on the virus, go 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.
Other helpful links:
accelerateSC is a one-stop-shop website to help businesses and citizens connect to important information during these changing times.
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).
BUDGET – CONTINUING RESOLUTION
A Continuing Resolution H.3411 is in effect that provides for the continued and uninterrupted operation of state government into the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2020. State government agencies will continue operating in FY21 with the same funding as it received in FY20. The General Assembly will return to Columbia June 23-25 for COVID-19 specific action and again in September 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. The House of Representatives will return to Columbia for a two-day session on June 24 and 25, primarily to appropriate funds from the federal CARES Act. The Senate will return on Tuesday, June 23 through June 25, if necessary. The resolution further authorizes the General Assembly to meet again in statewide session on Tuesday, September 15, 2020, at noon and continue in statewide session until September 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 pm on Sunday, November 8, 2020.
The General Assembly returns to Columbia for a brief session to appropriate federal CARES Act funding.
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.