Legislative report

I hope you’re doing well and staying safe during this COVID-19 crisis. I wanted to give you a legislative update.

On Wednesday the House went back into session and approved a Senate plan for how to allocate $1.2 billion in federal COVID-19 relief funds. About $500 million will be used to reimburse the unemployment benefits trust fund, $227 million to bolster K-12 educational efforts, $220 million to reimburse local governments for eligible COVID-19 expenditures, and $42 million for statewide testing and monitoring.

Last month, I was privileged to be appointed by House Speaker Jay Lucas to the House COVID-19 Liability Protection Review Committee for the purpose of reviewing potential legislation for liability protections for businesses from COVID-19 claims. Based on information from the committee meeting, on Wednesday I cosponsored legislation, H. 5527, that would shield businesses from such liability claims.

However, the legislation excludes protections for businesses that are “bad actors” if their conduct is intentional or reckless, and the business did not attempt to follow public health guidelines.

Also, on Wednesday a resolution I sponsored, H. 5500, declaring August 31st as Drug Overdose Awareness Day in South Carolina, passed unanimously. The declaration is in conjunction with International Overdose Awareness Day – a day to stimulate discussion in order to educate communities about overdose prevention and provide information on the range of support services and resources that exist in our communities.

This will be the first July 4th in 37 years without the Murrells Inlet Boat Parade. As a parade co-chair, it was a very difficult decision to cancel the parade as a safety precaution due to the recent spike in COVID-19 cases. Boaters, however, are still encouraged to show their patriotism while they practice social distancing and enjoy the inlet in celebration of Independence Day.

To benefit the Belin United Methodist Church Boy Scout Troop 396, T-shirts are still available for purchase, $10 each, at the Conway National Bank (Murrells Inlet branch), Lee's Inlet Apothecary, and Murrells Inlet Moose Lodge.

Stay safe from COVID-19: practice social distancing, and when possible, wear a mask in public spaces.

It's a privilege to represent District 108 in the House. If you have any comments, questions, or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Rep. Lee Hewitt