3 weeks left.

This week was another busy week in the House, with several key issues moving quickly in committee. The overall theme of the week was getting our state back to normal on the heels of the pandemic. In the coming weeks, we will be spending less time in committee and more time on the Floor, trying to pass all necessary legislation before sine die (meaning the day of adjournment) on May 13. Bills dealing with supporting law enforcement, a Convention of States amendment, and a bill to assist our judicial system regarding the death penalty will all be on the table these final few weeks of session. If any of those are important to you, please let me know. I always appreciate different opinions from our community.

Nathan Ballentine

COVID Liability Safe Harbor Act Passes Second Reading

I was proud to support the COVID Liability Safe Harbor Act. This bill passed the House, after already passing the Senate, and will soon go to the Governor’s desk. We created liability protections for health care providers and businesses that follow public health guidance in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. These protections are retroactive to March 13, 2020. This bill is a huge push to help ensure we make a complete economic recovery in South Carolina.

In-Person Learning

We also passed a bill that would require all school districts in South Carolina to give an option for 5 days a week, in-person learning by April 26th, allowing parents to decide what learning format is the best fit for their student. This bill will also suspend the earning limitation for retired teachers, ensuring that retired teachers come back to school without fear of too little compensation. We then sent it back to the Senate, where they amended it, the House concurred and it was sent to the Governor to be signed into law on Thursday. This is a huge, necessary step to getting our students back on track on their path to having a solid education. It also allows parents the freedom to choose what educational route is best for their student. 

Other Legislative News

Safe Haven for Infants – This bill, H. 4019, allows for infants up to one year old to be surrendered to a safe haven location without criminal prosecution of the parent. This extends the definition of infant from the previous 60-days-old definition, providing more protections for more children for a longer period of time. 

Insulin for Students – On Tuesday, H. 3336 passed the SC House, allowing volunteers in schools who have been fully trained by a registered nurse to administer glucagon, insulin, or both to students who may need it. Ensuring that the students who require medicine receive it safely is a huge priority, especially under the current high stress COVID-19 circumstances. 

Standing Trial – To be able to receive due process (as enumerated in the Constitution), a defendant must reach a level of mental competency to stand trial. Previously, the evaluation period for mental competency to stand trial was a mere 60 days. This week, the House unanimously passed a bill that extends the evaluation period to 180 days. 

JOBS. JOBS. JOBS.

Governor McMaster and House Speaker Jay Lucas joined the South Carolina Manufacturers 

Alliance this week to release an “Economic Impact of South Carolina” study and discussed the huge role that manufacturing plays in South Carolina’s economy. Here are some highlights from that report. Some may surprise you.

  • 30 percent of jobs in SC are tied to manufacturing
  • 38 percent of SC’s general fund comes from manufacturing
  • Manufacturing has a $206B impact each year in SC
  • 16 percent of SC’s GDP is associated with manufacturing
  • For every 10 manufacturing jobs created, another 14 other jobs are created elsewhere in SC

Weekly COVID-19 Update

  • South Carolina continues to be in Phase 1C of the vaccination process. Under these guidelines, anyone 16+ is eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine with an appointment. 
  • Visit https://scdhec.gov/covid19/covid-19-vaccine/covid-19-vaccine-appointments to make a vaccination appointment at a provider near you.
  • 40.0 percent of South Carolina citizens have started the vaccination process. 27.7 percent of SC citizens are fully vaccinated. 2,687,160 vaccines have been given to South Carolina residents to date.
  • Want to see how our area is doing in the fight against COVID-19? Visit the interactive ‘Vaccination Dashboard’ by following this link, https://scdhec.gov/covid19/covid-19-vaccination-dashboard.

*Numbers updated April 22. 

I’m at your service.

It is my honor to be of service to you and your family in the Chapin, Dutch Fork, Irmo communities. If you need assistance navigating through the flow of information on COVID-19, navigating state government, or have any thoughts or concerns about what we are doing, please do not hesitate to contact me at home 803-834-4613 or the office 803-734-2969. If you email me at [email protected], PLEASE put the word “constituent” in the subject line so I can be sure to read your email before the many others I receive daily.