Weekly report: Coronavirus, Santee Cooper

I wanted you to know that last night the SC Dept. of Health and Environmental Control reported that two patients in South Carolina have been diagnosed with the coronavirus. The women are located in Charleston and Kershaw counties.

Gov. McMaster held a news conference this morning about the outbreak. This is a time for concern, not panic. I urge you to learn more about the virus and its prevention by visiting this SCDHEC webpage.

Additionally, MUSC Health is providing FREE telehealth coronavirus screening to ALL South Carolinians. If you are experiencing symptoms you can click here and be screened without having to leave your home. Just enter promo code COVID19.

The week began with a huge development for the future of debt-ridden state-owned utility Santee Cooper. I encourage you to read House Speaker Jay Lucas's op-ed in the Post & Courier that summarizes how the House is working towards making the best decision for ratepayers and taxpayers.

The House Ways and Means Committee voted 19-3 to go forward with the two parallel paths, one that includes negotiating with NextEra to purchase Santee Cooper, and one that includes significant governance reform for Santee Cooper. It's a move that would create more time for a sale to be negotiated and NextEra representatives said they are willing to negotiate a better deal.

After eight weeks of debate and over 300 amendments, the Senate finally passed their education reform legislation. It addresses many of the same issues which were covered in the education reform legislation I voted for last year. I look forward to the upcoming debate on this bill in the House.

We passed a bill that would close a current loophole for inmates on death row. Currently, state law allows death-row inmates to pick lethal injection or electrocution, but mandates using lethal injection if inmates don’t make a choice. Manufacturers of the lethal injection drugs have stopped selling them to prisons so this bill fixes the loophole by making the electric chair the default method.

Next week is budget week in the House. We’ll be working hard to pass a fiscally conservative budget.

It’s a privilege to serve District 108 in the House of Representatives! Please let me know if I can be of any assistance.

Rep. Lee Hewitt

Please click here to donate to my reelection campaign.