1. Phase 1b Vaccine Distribution to Open Monday, March 8th
On Monday, March 8th, people who fall into category 1b will be eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
Phase 1b includes:
- Anyone 55 years old or older
- People with an increased risk for severe COVID
- Frontline essential workers with an increased occupational risk
- Individuals at increased risk in settings where people are living and working in close contact
- Healthcare workers not vaccinated in Phase 1a
This phase represents approximately 2.7 million people or roughly half of the population of South Carolina.
Those who seek to qualify for the vaccine under Phase 1b will need to be able to answer yes to one of the following questions:
- Are you age 55 or older?
- Are you at an increased risk for severe COVID-19 disease?
- I have a high-risk medical condition identified in Phase 1B guidance.
- I have a developmental or other severe, high-risk disability that makes developing severe, life-threatening illness or death from COVID-19 more likely.
- Are you a frontline worker with increased occupational risk?
- I perform a job that puts me in frequent, close (6-feet or less) and ongoing (15-minutes or more) contact with others in my work environment.
No documentation will be required to prove eligibility for those with high-risk medical conditions or frontline workers. If you qualify for vaccination under category 1b, you can find out how to make an appointment here.
As of Thursday, March 4th, 1,336,980 vaccine doses have been allocated to South Carolina, and 1,017,013 have been given.
2. SC Senate Leadership Joins SC Chamber for Business Speaks Panel
On Thursday, March 4th, Senator Majority Leader Shane Massey and Senate Minority Leader Brad Hutto joined the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce for a panel discussion on businesses' top issues. Topics included COVID liability protections, the hate crimes bill, DHEC re-organization, property tax reform, and broadband expansion. Lou Kennedy, CEO of Nephron Pharmaceuticals, moderated the panel.
Watch the full discussion here.
3. Legislative Update
On Monday, the Chamber and the SC Realtors unveiled a first-of-its-kind analysis of South Carolina’s property tax system in a study completed by the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy. The purpose of the analysis is to initiate conversations with stakeholders and policymakers and develop proposals that will ultimately change the state’s property tax system for the better.
The report lays out three critical key findings within the South Carolina property tax system:
- South Carolina’s property tax system is an outlier compared to the rest of the United States.
- South Carolina’s disparate property tax rates are both unfair and inefficient.
- South Carolina’s property tax system lacks transparency because of fragmented property tax administration, inconsistent language and varying land use codes.
Click here to read the study. In addition, a short video explaining the results of the study can be found here.
This week’s highlights of other Chamber legislative priorities include:
- FY 2021-22 State Budget: Passed the House Ways and Means Committee this week. A few highlights include:
- Broadband: Over $30M for a Statewide Broadband Office and broadband expansion.
- Be Pro Be Proud: $642,500.
- Buydowns Excluded from Gross Income H.3726 (SUPPORT): Passed the House and introduced in the Senate.
- Schools of Innovation S.208 (Support): Set for special order and passed the Senate.
- Teacher Step Increase H.3609 (Support): Will pass the Senate today. The Senate included an amendment so the bill will head to a conference committee before it goes to the Governor’s desk.
- Employer's Ability to Incentivize/Mandate COVID-19 Vaccine S.177 (Oppose): This bill as drafted, would prohibit employers from mandating a COVID-19 vaccine for their employees and stand in the way of employers offering incentives to those who choose to get vaccinated. The vast majority of businesses in our state are not considering mandating a COVID-19 vaccine for their employees. S.177 passed out of a Senate Medical Affairs Subcommittee on Wednesday; we are now working with the bill sponsor to try and see if improvements can be made to the language in the bill before it gets to the full Medical Affairs Committee on March 18th.
Finally, we are pleased to announce that a House Judiciary Constitutional Laws Subcommittee hearing has been scheduled at 10:30 am on Tuesday, March 9th for the hate crimes bill we are supporting, H.3620. Please continue to use www.passhatecrimesc.com to learn more about the issue and see how you can assist our efforts.
These and other resources for businesses are available on our website. As always, we will keep you up-to-date on any further information as it becomes available. Please feel free to reach out to us at COVID19Response@scchamber.net with questions.