Last week was the 7th week of the 2021 legislative session. There are 11 legislative weeks remaining before the General Assembly is scheduled to adjourn on May 13, 2021. Here are the highlights from last week in the Senate:
COVID LIABILITY PROTECTIONS – The Senate passed S. 147 2021-2022 Bill 147: SC COVID-19 Liability Safe Harbor Act – South Carolina Legislature Online (scstatehouse.gov), a bill that would give businesses and nonprofits immunity from being sued if someone contracts COVID or fears he may contract COVID as long as the business or nonprofit reasonably complies with public health guidance. The bill will now go to the House of Representatives.
BONDING FOR PORT EXPANSION – I discussed S. 491 2021-2022 Bill 491: Economic Development Bonds – South Carolina Legislature Online (scstatehouse.gov) , a resolution that would allow the state to borrow up to $550 million to expand rail access to the Port of Charleston and extend the existing docks, in last week’s update. After lengthy debate, the Senate passed the resolution last Wednesday. The House will now consider the resolution.
REQUIRED COURSEWORK IN PERSONAL FINANCE – The Senate passed S. 16 2021-2022 Bill 16: Graduation requirements – South Carolina Legislature Online (scstatehouse.gov) , a bill that would require high school students to complete a one-semester course in personal finance prior to graduation. The bill will now go to the House.
BLUE CATFISH – The Senate passed S. 36 2021-2022 Bill 36: Blue catfish – South Carolina Legislature Online (scstatehouse.gov) , a bill that would increase the number of blue catfish that a person is permitted to catch from Lake Marion, Lake Moultrie, or the Santee River. The bill will now go to the House.
BOATING EDUCATION COURSE – The Senate passed S. 497 2021-2022 Bill 497: Boating safety and education program – South Carolina Legislature Online (scstatehouse.gov) , a bill that would require a person born after July 1, 2006, to complete a boating education course before operating a 10hp or greater watercraft or jet ski. A person who has not completed a course would be exempt if someone else on the watercraft has successfully completed an education course. The House will now consider the bill.
Virus Numbers – South Carolina’s infection rate has been declining, but it is still 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 28, South Carolina had received 1,203,410 doses (80,860 more than last Sunday) and has administered 929,575 doses (158,833 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