Road Work Continues: Exit 97 to Peak

Was asked tonight for an update on the (ongoing) issues with 176 (Broad River) and wanted to pass along what SCDOT shared with me earlier this evening:

“Good evening Nathan, we have started with asphalt repairs on Broad River Road. Based on recommendations from our Research & Materials, we h ave begun to tackle the 10 mile stretch up near the Chapin Rd to Newberry County line with our internal forces. The section from Chapin Rd to Ballentine (Chickfila) will require a more extensive reparid and we currently (are) seeking extensions to existing paving contracts in order to complete the repairs this year. We will keep you posted on this as we progress.”

When we finished a 10 hour budget debate today (no breaks), I came home on Exit 97 (which is the Exit I take everyday – but I go left across 26) and filmed the above video with similar comment as this post.

For background on this and other work in the area, you can search Nathans News or click here for a few posts.

Opening Day: Irmo Little League

Twenty five years later, SC no longer like NY and CA

Yesterday, the House passed H. 3094, the Open Carry with Training Act, by an overwhelming vote of 82-33.

While some gun groups think H. 3094 does not go far enough, this is a huge step for South Carolina. If passed by the Senate, the legislation would bring South Carolina in line with 45 other states that have some type of open carry of a handgun. Currently, South Carolina is one of 5 states that does not have ANY type of open carry of a handgun, putting us in the group with New York, California, Florida, and Illinois. We can do better.

The House will also consider another standalone bill H. 3096 which passed out of the full House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday and is scheduled for floor debate in mid April. This bill is commonly referred to as the Constitutional Carry bill which requires no training.

I caught some grief yesterday from those that don’t know me and thought I was “anti-gun” (obviously they don’t follow me on Facebook with my hunting pics). What was their grief? They were upset that the House voted down an amendment that would have said “carry without training” – which is what H 3096 allows. Fifty Republicans voted this down along with Democrats. Why? Because a bill to allow that is coming to the floor and there was no need to risk placing that amendment on H. 3094. Many times, floor amendments end up hurting more than helping and many times amendment language is inartfully (and quickly) drawn. Obviously any floor amendments have not been vetted during the subcommittee and committee process to truly weigh the cause/effect.

If H. 3096 (Constitutional Carry) passes later next month, that would mean two strong, pro-Second Amendment bills will have been sent to the Senate for consideration. If you have any opinion on the upcoming H.3096 bill (Constitutional Carry – aka no training required), please continue to let me know.

The Weekly Rewind – Week of March 16


2021-22 State Budget

This week, the House Ways and Means Committee worked diligently putting the final touches on our state’s budget to send to the full House for consideration. The Committee unanimously passed a conservative bill that will likely hit the floor the week of March 22nd for debate. We took into account the recommendations made in Governor McMaster’s executive budget that focuses on COVID-19 relief, pay raises for law enforcement and rebuilding our state’s reserve fund.

This year’s budget recognizes the uncertainties caused by the pandemic. It also invests millions of dollars in K-12 education and our state’s struggling hospitality industry to recover from devastating COVID-19 impacts.

Here are some of this year’s budget highlights:
– $500M Fund for pandemic stabilization
– Relief fund allocating $50M in the case of a devastating natural disaster
– 30% expansion of the state’s 4K program
– Funding for a school nurse in EVERY South Carolina school
– Step Increase Pay Raises for Law Enforcement Officers
– PTSD treatment for Law Enforcement and Firefighters
– $30M to expand broadband internet access in rural and underserved areas
– Grants for Tourism Marketing following COVID-19 pandemic’s hit on tourism industry

Open Carry with Training Act

This week, the Open Carry with Training Act (H. 3094) passed the full House Judiciary Committee. This bill, introduced by Rep. Bobby Cox, protects the right of citizens to openly carry a firearm given sufficient training and appropriate certifications. There are many not satisfied with this compromise – but that usually means we must have done something right. Some feel there are “too many guns” already and think passage of the bill would lead to the “wild west”. Others feel there should be NO training restrictions in place. I’ve heard from many of you and it seems most are practical by understanding training (very much like current training to carry a concealed weapon) is acceptable.

Teachers & Law Enforcement to be Vaccinated Beginning Monday

This week, the Governor announced the great news that South Carolina is moving into Phase 1b of the COVID-19 vaccination plan. Additionally, we have seen many more vaccination sites opening around the state and with this week’s approval of the Johnson & Johnson vaccination, we are finally arriving on the other side of the pandemic. Here is what we know:

Starting March 8th, the following groups may schedule an appointment to receive their vaccine:
– Anyone over the age of 55
– People 16 and over who have a high-risk medical condition
– Teachers, store clerks, law enforcement and other frontline jobs that put an individual within 6ft of other people for more than 15 minutes
Visit https://scdhec.gov/covid19/covid-19-vaccine-allocation for more information

As of March 4th, over 995,309 doses of the COVID-19 vaccination have been given in South Carolina. This is due to the hard work and sacrifice made by volunteers, medical professionals, the National Guard, and many other folks in our State. I am proud and thankful for the progress we continue to make and the fellowship our state has shown during these tough times.

COVID-19 NEWS: On Friday, Governor Henry McMaster modified his COVID-19 emergency orders, returning remaining state employees back to the workplace full-time. Additionally, the face-covering requirement in state government building and offices has been dissolved to a recommendation. For more info, https://sc.gov.

Resources and Helplines:
– DHEC Care Line: 1-855-472-3432
– COVID-19 Vaccine Information Line: 1-866-365-8110
– Find a vaccine location near you here: https://vaxlocator.dhec.sc.gov
– Information about qualifying for SBA loans: https://www.sba.gov/page/coronavirus-covid-19-small-business-guidance-loan-resources
– Mental health/substance abuse services related to COVID-19: 1-844-724-6737
– For other COVID-19 resources, visit the Accelerate SC website: https://accelerate.sc.gov
– To see if you may qualify for unemployment, visit: https://dew.sc.gov
– For updates from the Governor, visit https://governor.sc.gov

As always, please call my office (803)734-2969 anytime you need assistance with state government OR anytime you have suggestions/advice on how to improve our quality of life. It’s an honor to serve you and your family in Columbia and I hope you’ll call me anytime you need help!

The Weekly Rewind – Week of March 9th

HOUSE WEEK IN REVIEW
March 9 – 11, 2021

The House approved and sent the Senate H. 3770, a joint resolution authorizing the expenditure of federal funds disbursed to the state to assist those who are unable to pay rent and utilities due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The legislation creates the South Carolina Emergency Rental Assistance Program administered by the South Carolina State Housing Financing and Development Authority (SC Housing), under the direction of its board of commissioners, and establishes an advisory panel to review and monitor the implementation and evaluation of the program and funding. Program assistance addresses renter households in which at least one individual: (a) qualifies for unemployment or has experienced a reduction in household income, incurred significant costs, or experienced a financial hardship due to COVID-19; (b) demonstrates a risk of experiencing homelessness or housing instability; and (c) has a household income at or below eighty percent of the area median. Priority is given to eligible households where someone has been unemployed for at least ninety days and households with income at or below fifty percent of the area median. The South Carolina Emergency Rental Assistance Program does not administer the share of federal funds that seven South Carolina counties claimed directly by completing the application process to run their own rental assistance programs. Program funds may not be awarded for residents of Anderson, Berkeley, Charleston, Greenville, Horry, Richland, or Spartanburg counties unless there are additional funds remaining after obligating funds to all other eligible residents in the state.

The House approved and ordered to third reading H.3105, the “South Carolina Religious Freedom Act.” This proposed legislation that was sent to the Senate this week deems religious services in houses of worship as essential services during states of emergency. As such, they would be allowed to continue operating throughout the duration of any declared states of emergency.

The House of Representatives concurred in Senate amendments to H. 3609 and enrolled the joint resolution for ratification. This joint resolution would restore teacher step salary increases that were suspended by Act 135 of 2020 (enacted by the General Assembly due to financial uncertainties caused by the COVID-19 virus). The legislation appropriates $50 million dollars from the 2018-2019 Contingency Reserve Fund to provide for teacher step increases for the 2020-2021 school year.

The House amended, approved, and sent to the Senate H. 3444, proposed legislation to clarify State Election Commission Statewide Authority. It would establish the ultimate authority of the State Election Commission to ensure standardized performance, conduct, and practices by county boards of elections and voter registration. In addition, the SEC would ensure that county commissions administer elections and voter registration in our state and comply with applicable state or federal laws, as well as all State Election Commission policies, procedures, and regulations.

The House amended, approved and sent to the Senate H. 3225, legislation that increases awareness of the rising maternal morbidity rate for African American women by enacting the “South Carolina Dignity in Pregnancy and Childbirth Act.” Among the bill’s findings: American women die in childbirth at a higher rate than in any other developed country and African American women have a three to four times higher risk of dying from pregnancy complications than other women. South Carolina maternal mortality rates among African American women have soared by over 300 percent in recent years. The bill creates a study committee to examine, a) the maternal mortality rate among non-Hispanic Black women in South Carolina and how this varies from the rates experienced by other women; b) the maternal mortality data associated with perinatal care, including by race or ethnicity, to determine any statewide trends, statistically significant differences in maternal mortality rates among races or ethnicities, and reasons for the differences; and c) all methods and practices that will improve rates of maternal mortality among non-Hispanic Black women in South Carolina. This thirteen-member study committee shall provide a report that outlines findings and recommendations to the General Assembly by January 1, 2022.

The House approved and sent to the Senate H. 3821, a bill to enact the “South Carolina Uniform Transfers to Minors Act.” This bill updates existing law and establishes a more modern method for, and a uniform manner of making, transfers of custodial property for the benefit of minors. This proposed legislation repeals existing, outmoded law covering these transfers.

H. 3925 was recalled from the Education Committee, subsequently amended, approved by the House and sent to the Senate. This joint resolution would waive the requirement that new homeschooled students must wait one year prior to participating in public school interscholastic activities for the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 school years. The bill specifically requires that eligible students must have been enrolled in a public school for the beginning of either the 2019-2020 school year or 2020-2021 school year.

The House concurred in Senate amendments to H. 3608 and enrolled the legislation for ratification. This joint resolution addresses a funding shortfall for the Public Charter School District as a result of the General Assembly enacting Act 135 of 2020 due to financial uncertainties caused by the COVID-19 virus. The legislation appropriates $9 million dollars from the 2018-2019 Contingency Reserve Fund to the Department of Education for distribution to the Public Charter School District, including the Charter Institute at Erskine, for per pupil funding for the 2020-2021 School Year. This funding shall not be used for administrative salary increases. The legislation also provides that, in the current fiscal year, a charter school sponsor may, but is not required to, approve charter applications that meet statutory requirements.

The House amended, approved and sent to the Senate H. 3024, legislation authorizing the issuance of mobile barbershop permits. This bill authorizes the Board of Barber Examiners to issue mobile barbershop permits, establish permit requirements, and provide for regulations of mobile barbershops. Inspections must be conducted on mobile barbershops and upon satisfactory inspection, the board shall issue a bi-annual permit to be affixed within the mobile barbershop as prescribed by the board. In addition, the board shall issue a permit card to be carried by the barber when practicing barbering through a portable barber operation. At all times, a licensed barber must be in charge and present during the operation of a mobile barbershop and is responsible for all barbering services provided at the mobile barbershop.

The House approved S. 287 and enrolled it for ratification. The Department of Labor Licensing and Regulation may require physical therapists and physical therapy assistants to have a state and national criminal records background check (supported by fingerprints) performed as a requirement for eligibility for initial licensure. The applicant is responsible for the costs of conducting these background checks.

The House amended, approved and sent to the Senate H. 3308, a bill that increases the watercraft idle speed wake distance to within fifty feet of a moored or anchored vessel or a person in the water or one

From the House Floor: Wasting Time

Unbelievable!

We are more than 45 minutes into “debate” over a minor change in a House Rule.

Video explains it – but to reiterate, the change ONLY REQUIRES THE MEMBER who makes the motion to STAY IN THE CHAMBER at his/her desk while the bill is read.

Members can STILL delay the process by asking the “bill to be read across the desk” – but you would no longer be able to use that dilatory tactic and get to leave the chamber.

Wasting time discussing wasting time in Columbia. Go figure.

Read Across America 2021

I want to thank Mrs. Hinrichs at Riversprings Elementary for inviting me to Read Across America with the Navigators this week!

Half of South Carolinians eligible for vaccine next week

From WLTX

COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina will enter Phase 1b of the vaccine next week, a massive expansion of those who will be able to get the COVID-19 shot.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, alongside DHEC Director Dr. Edward Simmer, and Schools Superintendent Molly Spearman, made the announcement Tuesday that the state would enter the Phase 1b on March 8.

Simmer said these means over half of all people in the state will now be eligible to get the vaccine.

Among those included are the following:

* Anyone aged 55 and up
* People with increased risk for severe COVID-19 disease
* People aged 16-64 with one or more of the following high-risk medical conditions:
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.

* People who have a developmental or other severe high-risk disability that makes developing severe life-threatening illness or death from COVID-19 infection more likely
* Frontline workers with increased occupational risk
* Frontline workers with increased occupational risk are people who:
Must be in-person at their place of work, and Perform a job that puts them at increased risk of exposure due to their frequent, close (less than 6 feet) and ongoing (more than 15 minutes) contact with others in the work environment

Based on current vaccine supply levels, DHEC anticipates Phase 1c will begin on approximately April 12, 2021. The phase will include:

* People aged 45 and up
* Essential workers

This group includes those who work in essential job categories as defined by the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) who are not included in Phase 1b because they do not have frequent, close contact with others in the work environment (examples may include construction workers, delivery drivers, utility workers, etc. who do not have frequent, close and ongoing contact with others).

Phase 2 will begin on approximately May 3, 2021, and will include:

* All South Carolinians aged 16 and up

VACCINE
Half of all South Carolinians to be eligible for vaccine next week
Currently teachers in South Carolina are in Phase 1b of the distribution plan.

Author: WLTX
Published: 9:53 AM EST March 2, 2021
Updated: 12:19 PM EST March 2, 2021
Facebook Twitter
COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina will enter Phase 1b of the vaccine next week, a massive expansion of those who will be able to get the COVID-19 shot.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, alongside DHEC Director Dr. Edward Simmer, and Schools Superintendent Molly Spearman, made the announcement Tuesday that the state would enter the Phase 1b on March 8.

01:24 / 03:58
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RELATED: How to register for the COVID-19 vaccine in South Carolina if you’re over 65+

Simmer said these means over half of all people in the state will now be eligible to get the vaccine.

Among those included are the following:

Anyone aged 55 and up
People with increased risk for severe COVID-19 disease
People aged 16-64 with one or more of the following high-risk medical conditions:
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.
People who have a developmental or other severe high-risk disability that makes developing severe life-threatening illness or death from COVID-19 infection more likely
Frontline workers with increased occupational risk
Frontline workers with increased occupational risk are people who:
Must be in-person at their place of work, and
Perform a job that puts them at increased risk of exposure due to their frequent, close (less than 6 feet) and ongoing (more than 15 minutes) contact with others in the work environment
Based on current vaccine supply levels, DHEC anticipates Phase 1c will begin on approximately April 12, 2021. The phase will include:

People aged 45 and up
Essential workers
This group includes those who work in essential job categories as defined by the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) who are not included in Phase 1b because they do not have frequent, close contact with others in the work environment (examples may include construction workers, delivery drivers, utility workers, etc. who do not have frequent, close and ongoing contact with others).

Phase 2 will begin on approximately May 3, 2021, and will include:

All South Carolinians aged 16 and up
Move back to school

The news comes a day after the state announced it will be receiving the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

McMaster and Spearman said the expansion means schools need to move to five-day a week instruction immediately.

“There are no more excuses or justifications for our schools to not be open to five-day a week, in-person instruction,” McMaster said. “Our schools must be open.”

Currently, only seniors, healthcare workers, and first responders are eligible for the vaccine as part of Phase 1a. Teachers and many other groups, including critical infrastructure employees, are in Phase 1b.

An effort to get teachers moved up in the vaccination cycle easily passed through the Senate but has stalled in the House, and it’s uncertain if it will actually get approved in that chamber.

Spearman said last month she now supports moving all districts to five-day a week, in-person instruction. She pointed to recent studies and comments by the CDC director that state that schools do not have to require vaccinations for teachers to reopen safely. She said evidence shows schools are not the superspreader situations they were feared to be last summer.

There are an estimated 70,000 teachers in South Carolina. A survey by the South Carolina Department of Education found about 58 percent of them want to take the vaccine.

DHEC VACCINE LOCATOR

Find DHEC’s online map at scdhec.gov/vaxlocator. This online map shows the locations currently accepting appointments (many of the same ones listed below) for COVID-19 vaccine and the map will provide the contact information for scheduling appointments at those locations. The map itself is not a way to schedule an appointment.

DHEC has a COVID-19 vaccine information line at 1-866-365-8110 The service is available from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week People who have questions about the COVID-19 vaccines or who need help finding vaccine providers and their contact information are asked to call the DHEC COVID-19 Vaccine Information Line.

You can also schedule an appointment directly through DHEC’s website at CVAS.DHEC.SC.GOV. Appointment availability through this scheduling tool is limited to start, but is expected to grow in the coming days.

You will be asked to provide a driver’s license or other form of ID at your appointment that confirms your age in order to receive vaccine.

South Carolina residency is not a requirement to receive a vaccine.

Outside the State House: Inside the Community

Want to continue to give y’all a behind the scenes look at your Representative. Over the years, we’ve had thousands of new residents in Chapin, Dutch Fork and Irmo, and I want to let you see a side of me in 2021 you may not see normally. These clips will be about a minute long. Just thought might be good to see the “normal” side of me as well as what we do when we’re not inside the State House.

Earlier videos:

Outside the State House: Home Office

Outside the State House: F3 Lake Murray

Outside the State House: Movement Mortgage

Outside the State House: White Tail Deer Hunting

Chapin Chamber In-Person Meeting! March 18th

We are so excited to be back meeting in person! Please be sure to wear a facemask while not eating or drinking. Social Distancing guidelines will be enforced.

Join us on March 18th at 12pm at The Cotton Press in Little Mountain. We’ll hear from Scott Hanners of Scott Hanners – State Farm and Kari Pepper McKeone of The Justin Pepper Foundation. Lunch will be provided by Sheila Veach of Small Packages, LLC. *Facemasks will be required while not eating or drinking.

The Cotton Press
199 W. Church Street
Little Mountain, SC 29075

12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

For more info contact:

Paul Sadler
The Greater Chapin Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center
803-345-1100
director@chapinchamber.com

Click here to register