Last week was the 9th week of the 2021 legislative session. There are 9 legislative weeks remaining before the General Assembly is scheduled to adjourn on May 13, 2021. The Senate spent most of last week working in committees, but here are the highlights from last week’s floor action in the Senate:
TORT CLAIMS ACT – South Carolina, like other states and federal government, has a tort claims act that waives its immunity from lawsuits in certain situations. That law also sets a maximum limit that the state or local governments would have to pay as a result of a tortious act. In South Carolina, that limit is $300,000 per person and $600,000 per occurrence (regardless of the number of persons injured). Last week, the Senate passed debate S. 82 2021-2022 Bill 82: Liability limitations – South Carolina Legislature Online (scstatehouse.gov), a bill that would raise that cap on damage payouts to $500,000 per person and $1,000,000. While the increased limits are good for people who are harmed by negligent acts of government employees, raising the caps will increase premiums paid by the state, counties, municipalities, school districts, special purpose districts, most hospitals, and charitable organizations. The House will now consider the bill.
OPIOID PRESCRIPTIONS – The Senate passed S. 571 2021-2022 Bill 571: Naloxone – South Carolina Legislature Online (scstatehouse.gov), a bill that would require physicians to write a prescription for Naloxone when they write prescription for opiods. Naloxone has been used to combat opioid-induced depression and opioid overdoses. The patient would not be required to fill the Naloxone prescription, but it would be available if he chose to do so. The bill will now go to the House of Representatives.
HOME-BASED FOODS – The Senate passed S. 506 2021-2022 Bill 506: Home-based food products – South Carolina Legislature Online (scstatehouse.gov), a bill that would expand the allowable sales of home-based foods. Certain non-hazardous foods could be sold to retailers and then resold to the public. The bill will now go to the House of Representatives.
EXPANDED COVID VACCINES – The Senate passed H. 3900 2021-2022 Bill 3900: COVID-19 vaccine administration, podiatrists – South Carolina Legislature Online (scstatehouse.gov), a bill that would authorize podiatrists to administer the COVID vaccine shots. The bill will be returned to the House.
Virus Numbers – South Carolina’s infection rate has been declining. You can see the daily numbers here.
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 – As of Monday, March 8, South Carolina has opened Phase 1B of the vaccine distribution. Here’s who’s eligible to receive the vaccine under Phase 1B:
Anyone aged 55 and up
People aged 16-54 with increased risk for severe COVID-19 disease, such as Cancer (current, not a history of cancer), chronic kidney disease (any stage), chronic lung disease, diabetes (Type 1 and Type 2), Down syndrome, heart disease (congestive heart disease, coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathy, pulmonary hypertension), HIV/AIDS, solid organ transplant, obesity (BMI > 30), pregnancy, sickle cell disease.
Frontline workers with increased occupational risk, such as school staff and daycare workers, criminal justice staff, government employees, manufacturing workers, grocery store workers, and law enforcement officers.
Individuals at increased risk in settings where people are living and working in close contact
All workers in healthcare and community health settings who have routine, direct patient contact and were not vaccinated in Phase 1a
You can read more information about the phases and eligibility here.
WHAT IF I’M NOT ELIGIBLE UNDER PHASE 1B? – DHEC estimates that Phase 1c eligibility will begin the week of April 12 and Phase 2 will begin the week of May 3. 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, March 14, South Carolina had received 1,793,638 doses (182,120 more than last Sunday) and has administered 1,451,709 doses (220,350 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