The General Assembly convened this week for the primary purpose of adopting two bills (H.4014 & H3411)
H.4014 which requires the Executive Budget Office to establish a COVID-19 Response account which will hold $45 million for use by the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) “for those purposes necessary for the health, safety and welfare of the public in response to the COVID-19 pandemic”.
Noteworthy to Law Enforcement: This bill also provides that for the period beginning March 19, 2020 ending September 1, 2020, the earnings limitation has been waived for retired members of the SC Retirement System or the PORS system who return to covered employment to participate in the state’s public health preparedness and response to the COVID-19 virus. If an agency head deems your return to work necessary to assist it the COVID-19 response, you may do so without penalty.
H.3411 is a continuing resolution that provides for continued operation of state government should the General Assembly be unable to adopt a budget by July 1, 2020. H.3411 will not be necessary should the General Assembly adopt a FY20-21 budget bill. We will be paid, and our government will continue to operate as is even without a budget.
Current schedule for the General Assembly: At the conclusion of session Thursday, March 19, 2020 session, the SC House of Representatives adjourned and to return at the call of the chair. As for the SC Senate, President Peeler notified the body on Thursday that the Senate will not meet in session this week unless called back into session by the Senate President. Senate committees are permitted to hold meetings during this time at the discretion of the committee chairmen. The Senate President and the Speaker of the House may call the legislators back to session if an emergency need arises.
All of the Governor’s Executive Orders are located at:
Of the things that are top priorities now:
Personal Protection Ensemble (PPE) has been sent from the National Stockpile to the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) and currently being distributed to counties. Supplies are limited. Your agency may contact DHEC for distribution.
A bill is currently being explored and developed to presumptively conclude that a first responder who develops COVID19 will be considered as a worker’s comp issue directly related to our service. (Governors executive orders may address this for the current situation we find ourselves in. A law may be useful in the future to address any pandemic. We do have several House members who are willing to work toward that goal.