Last week was the 5th week of the 2021 legislative session. There are 13 legislative weeks remaining before the General Assembly is scheduled to adjourn on May 13, 2021.
VACCINES FOR TEACHERS – The Senate passed S. 516 South Carolina Legislature Online – Bill Search by Bill Number (scstatehouse.gov), a resolution that would require DHEC to move teachers, school support staff, and daycare employees into Phase 1a of the COVID vaccine plan, making those South Carolinians immediately eligible to receive the vaccine if they choose to take the shot. The resolution would also require all school districts to offer a 5-day, in person instruction option no later than the Monday following spring break.
Here is an op-ed I wrote in support of the resolution.
The House of Representatives will now consider the resolution.
MORE MONEY TO SPEED UP VACCINE PROCESS – The Senate debated and passed H. 3707 2021-2022 Bill 3707: COVID-19 – South Carolina Legislature Online (scstatehouse.gov), a resolution that would spend $208 million from reserve accounts to help speed up and expand the vaccine process. The resolution also ensures additional emphasis on offering the vaccine to residents in rural and underserved areas. The House will consider Senate changes to the resolution.
INTERVENTION AND ASSISTANCE OF LOCAL SCHOOL DISTRICTS – The Senate continued discussion of S. 201 South Carolina Legislature Online – Bill Search by Bill Number (scstatehouse.gov) and passed the bill on Thursday. The bill that would authorize the State Superintendent of Education to provide greater assistance to teachers, school boards, and districts when schools or districts consistently underperform. The State Superintendent could declare an education state of emergency for a consistently underperforming school or district and intervene to take over the administration of the school or district. The most controversial part of the bill would allow the Superintendent to dissolve a local school board if 2/3 of the schools in a district are consistently underperforming. The bill would also make it easier for retired teaches to return to the classroom for the next 3 years. The bill will now go to the House of Representatives.
POLICE ANIMALS – The Senate passed S. 378 2021-2022 Bill 378: Police dogs and horses – South Carolina Legislature Online (scstatehouse.gov), a bill that would increase penalties for people who mistreat or injure specially trained police animals. The bill will now go to the House.
EXTENDED FOSTER CARE – The Senate passed S. 221 2021-2022 Bill 221: Child protection and permanency – South Carolina Legislature Online (scstatehouse.gov), a bill that would allow for voluntary extensions of foster care between the ages of 18 and 21 if the young adult and family court determine it is in the person’s best interest. The bill will now go to the House.
EXPANDED FOSTER CARE OPTIONS – The Senate passed S. 222 2021-2022 Bill 222: Kinship foster care program – South Carolina Legislature Online (scstatehouse.gov) , a bill that would expand the Kinship Foster Care Program. Currently, eligible foster care parents under this program must have some relation to the child. The bill would add fictive kin to the program. “Fictive kin” includes those people who may not be related to the child but who have established an emotionally significant relationship with the child or the child’s family. The bill will now go to
Virus Numbers – South Carolina’s infection rate is way too high. You can see the daily numbers here.
We have to do a better job of controlling the spread of the virus. Please wear a mask, avoid large crowds, and wash our hands frequently. We can all help this process if we take these steps.
Testing Sites – You can find COVID testing locations near you here.
Vaccine eligibility – South Carolina is currently in Phase 1A of the vaccine distribution. Here’s who’s eligible to receive the vaccine under Phase 1A:
Frontline healthcare workers who are high risk of exposure and mission-critical to the overarching goal of preventing death
Residents and staff of long-term care facilities
Admitted hospital patients who are aged 65 years and older
Anyone 65 years and older
State/local government employees and their contractors who are mission-critical for maintaining operations of COVID-19 vaccinations and testing
You can read more information about the phases and eligibility here.
What if I’m not eligible under Phase 1a? – DHEC estimates that Phase 1b eligibility will begin “Early Spring” and the remaining phases will follow. You can see more information about phases and eligibility here.
How do I get the vaccine? – DHEC has updated its list of vaccine locations here.
In addition to the locations identified on the map, in our area you can request vaccines through the following local hospital websites:
Aiken Regional Medical Centers – COVID-19 Vaccine | Aiken Regional Medical Centers
Lexington Medical Center – COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Vaccine | Lexington Medical Center (lexmed.com)
Self Regional Healthcare – Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information, Prevention and Preparedness – Self Regional Healthcare | Greenwood, SC
For those who do not have internet access, DHEC launched a new phone number – 866-365-8110 – that is staffed with 240 operators to answer calls 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. and help schedule vaccine appointments.
Appointments should be scheduled because walk ins may not be able to receive the vaccine.
How is South Carolina doing in the administration of the vaccine? – As of Sunday, February 14, South Carolina had received 970,550 doses (191,350 more than last Sunday) and has administered 643,284 doses (129,448 more than last Sunday). You can keep up with how many doses we have received and administered here. This site is updated daily.
SCDOT ROAD PROJECTS – SCDOT has an interactive map to allow citizens to see the road and bridge projects going on around the state. You can see that map here.
How is the gas tax being used? – SCDOT’s website allows you to view a detailed revenue statement and project list that is funded by the Infrastructure Maintenance Trust Fund (IMTF). SCDOT updates this site monthly as the revenue comes in. You can see that report here.
WANT TO SEE THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY IN ACTION? – The Senate meets in statewide session on Tuesdays at 12:00, Wednesdays at 1:00, and Thursdays at 11:00. Committees and subcommittees meet Wednesday mornings and Thursday mornings. You can watch live coverage of the Senate, House of Representatives, and committees here.
OUR SENATE DISTRICT – Senate district 25 consists of all of Edgefield County and parts of Aiken, Lexington, McCormick, and Saluda Counties. If you’d like to see the district map, go here.
SPEAKING WITH GROUPS – Several groups, clubs, and classes around our Senate district have invited me to attend their meetings and provide legislative updates. If you would like for me to come speak with your group, please let me know.
EMAIL UPDATES – If you know of people in or around District 25 who do not receive my updates but would like to get them, please email their names and email addresses to me. You can also forward this email to them and encourage them to sign up for the updates at www.senatormassey.com.
P.O. Box 551
Edgefield, SC 29824
Cell Phone: (803) 480-0419