South Carolina Legislative Update
SC Legislative Update
Last week's highlights of Chamber legislative priorities include:
• COVID-19 Liability Protections for Businesses: Last week, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed SB72, a bill which will protect businesses, health care providers, schools and government entities from lawsuits brought as a result of the pandemic. This now makes South Carolina the last Southeastern state without such protections, putting us at a competitive disadvantage with our neighbors. We look forward to working with the House Judiciary Committee to move South Carolina’s COVID-19 Liability Immunity Act (S.147) forward when the House returns.
• DHEC Restructuring S.2 (SUPPORT SENATE SUBCOMMITTEE AMENDMENT): The Senate Medical Affairs Subcommittee met for the first time last week on this bill and quickly passed an amendment that made changes to the environmental restructuring portion of the bill and reflects input from the business community. Rather than splitting DHEC’s current environmental functions between the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Natural Resources as was specified in the bill as introduced, the amendment shifts the functions to a new Department of Environmental Services. The subcommittee plans to have several meetings on this bill over the next few weeks before they take action to move the bill forward; the next meeting will be today, Wednesday April 7th, 30 minutes after the Senate session adjourns.
• Employer's Ability to Incentivize/Mandate COVID-19 Vaccine S.177 (NOT OPPOSING BILL WITH COMMITTEE AMENDMENT): The Senate Medical Affairs Committee passed this bill out with an amendment last week which made significant changes to the original language. The bill, as amended, expressly allows employers to incentivize employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine, require an employee with a COVID-19 diagnosis, exposure, or symptoms to quarantine, and require that employees who are treating or caring for vulnerable populations (individuals over 60 years of age or those with an underlying medical condition) to get a COVID-19 vaccine.
This week, the House and Senate will both be in session Tuesday through Thursday and will need to get many bills passed out of one body before the crossover deadline of April 10th – most importantly, the Hate Crimes Bill H.3620 will need to pass the House if it has a shot at passing this year.