I wanted to take a moment to update you on the the events of this week. The state legislature went back into session on Tuesday for two main reasons. The first was to pass a continuing resolution (CR) and the second was for a Sine Die resolution.

The primary reason for the CR was to make sure the government continues to function by extending this year’s budget to next year. The Sine Die resolution just listed the things we can discuss when we are called back by the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House – primarily to finish next year’s budget after we have a few months of results.

Additionally, we addressed voters’ concerns about going to the poll on June 9th for the Primary by allowing absentee voting for everyone. We added “state of emergency” as one of the reasons to be able to vote absentee. Greenville County plans to open four additional absentee voting sites to help control some of the crowding and social distance issues, and to make sure everyone feels comfortable voting.

We also passed an additional $15 million in funding to provide the county election offices with the proper PPE (personal protective equipment) to make sure we provide safe elections.

I would urge people to take advantage of the opportunity to vote absentee and avoid any election day issues. If you would like more information regarding voting absentee, click here.

As most of you know, I was appointed by President Peeler to serve on the accelerateSC team. In addition, he has appointed me, along with six others, to a special Senate OpenSC committee. The committee is chaired by Senator Thomas Alexander of Oconee County. This committee will meet several times over the next couple of weeks to make recommendations to the Senate on the CARES Act money that has been moved to the Legislature for disbursement.

At the last accelerateSC meeting, I made a push for $400 million to be included to reimburse the Unemployment Trust Fund (UTF) and will do the same on the OpenSC committee. This amount will not be enough to cover the full expense, but it will be a huge help moving forward. After we ran into issues with the UTF in the 2007 recession, we placed the heavy burden of replenishing it on the back of the businesses we were counting on to pull us out of the recession – which slowed our recovery. We cannot make that mistake again.

We are at a critical time in our state and in our country, but I feel like South Carolina is positioned well to come out of this pandemic. However, if all we do is try to get back to where we were, then we have not learned anything.

We have a huge opportunity to transform Education, continue deregulating business, and expand broadband internet to make sure Education and Healthcare can reach everyone where they are. South Carolina has been an example to the nation on how to handle a pandemic, and now we need to be the example on how to recover.

If anyone is still having issues with navigating state government, please do not hesitate to call me or my assistant, Ja’vell Bynoe, at (803)212-6148. It is truly an honor to represent District 8 in the SC Senate and I appreciate the opportunity to serve you.

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