Last week was the 12th week of the 2021 legislative session. There are 6 legislative weeks remaining before the General Assembly is scheduled to adjourn on May 13, 2021. Here are the highlights from last week’s floor action in the Senate:
PROPERTY TAXES FOR SEPARATED COUPLES – The Senate passed S. 527 2021-2022 Bill 527: Legally separated – South Carolina Legislature Online (scstatehouse.gov), a bill that would allow married, but separated, spouses to have each spouse’s residential property taxed at the residential rate. To qualify for both residential rates, the couple must have filed an action for separate support and maintenance in the family court. Currently, married spouses are limited to one residential property tax rate even if they are in the midst of a divorce action. The House will now consider the bill.
RENTAL ASSISTANCE – The Senate amended and passed H. 3770, 2021-2022 Bill 3770: Emergency Rental Assistance Program – South Carolina Legislature Online (scstatehouse.gov), a resolution that would authorize the SC Housing, Financing, and Development Authority to use nearly $272 million in federal funds for an emergency rental assistance program to help pay rent and utilities. A utility, landlord, or tenant could submit an application. The resolution will return to the House of Representatives for consideration of Senate amendments.
LEFT LANE DRIVERS – The Senate passed H. 3011 2021-2022 Bill 3011: Driving on the right half of road – South Carolina Legislature Online (scstatehouse.gov), a bill that would restrict cruising in the left lane of an interstate with 3 or more lanes. There are exceptions for passing, when there is no trailing traffic, and other factors. The bill will now go back to the House.
ATTORNEY FEES FOR TAXPAYERS IN TAX SUITS – The Senate passed S. 154 2021-2022 Bill 154: Revenue Department, taxation – South Carolina Legislature Online (scstatehouse.gov), a bill that would allow taxpayers to recover attorney fees if they are successful in legal challenges against the Department of Revenue. The bill will now go to the House.
GRADUATE NURSES – The Senate passed S. 455 2021-2022 Bill 455: Nurses, temporary licensure – South Carolina Legislature Online (scstatehouse.gov), a bill that would allow graduate nurses to work under certain circumstances. The House will now consider the bill.
PARTY COUNTY CONVENTIONS – The Senate passed H. 3264 2021-2022 Bill 3264: County conventions, required notices – South Carolina Legislature Online (scstatehouse.gov), a bill that would delete the requirement that political parties must advertise their biennial county conventions in local newspapers. The bill will now go to Governor McMaster.
RETURN TO SCHOOL AND RETIRED TEACHERS – The Senate passed S. 704 2021-2022 Bill 704: SCRS, earning limitations – South Carolina Legislature Online (scstatehouse.gov), a resolution that would require all school districts to offer five-day, in-person instruction no later than April 12, 2021, and for the entire 2021-2022 school year. The resolution would create a temporary, 3 year program to allow retired teachers who have been retired for at least two years to return to the classroom and earn up to $50,000/year while still collecting their state retirement benefits. The resolution will now go to the House of Representatives.
STATE ELECTION COMMISSION – The Senate passed S. 499 2021-2022 Bill 499: SC Election Commission Restructuring Act – South Carolina Legislature Online (scstatehouse.gov), a bill that would require Senate confirmation for gubernatorial appointments to the State Election Commission and for the Executive Director of the State Election Commission. The bill will now go to the House of Representatives.
Virus Numbers – South Carolina’s infection rate has been declining. You can see the daily numbers here.
Please continue to 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 Wednesday, March 31, all South Carolina residents 16 years of age and older are eligible to receive the vaccine.
You can read more information about the 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:
Abbeville Area Medical Center – Important Coronavirus Information | Abbeville Area Medical Center (abbevilleareamc.com)
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.
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