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Governor extends state government, praises COVID-19 response

Staff Report //May 19, 2020//

Governor extends state government, praises COVID-19 response

Staff Report //May 19, 2020//

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Gov. Henry McMaster signed a continuing resolution Monday that allows the state government to continue operating without interruption starting July 1 into the fiscal year.

He also extended the continuing work of the AccelerateSC task force and noted that its suggestions will guide his list of priorities for funding appropriations from the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act proposed to the state legislature, according to a news release.

“These relief funds belong to the people of South Carolina, not politicians, and we must deliver them to where they are needed. Consideration for the appropriation must be done expeditiously — but also wisely, transparently and with meticulous accountability,” McMaster said in the release.

After adjourning March 20 amid public health concerns, the General Assembly reconvened May 12, passing the resolution to allow state government to keep spending after the fiscal year ends. Lawmakers then ended the spring session with no firm plans to return before a two-week special session starting Sept. 15.

The governor also asked state legislative leaders to summon the General Assembly back into session as soon as they had received his recommendations.

“The Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act urgently passed by the Congress and signed into law by President (Donald) Trump provided South Carolina with over $1.9 billion,” McMaster said. “Its sole purpose is the reimbursement of legitimate COVID-19 expenses incurred by state agencies, local governments, first responders, hospitals, school districts and institutions of higher education — to be done quickly but carefully to get them back on their feet. Time is of the essence and deadlines are approaching.”

In the statement, McMaster also praised the Legislature for directing funding from the state’s contingency reserve to support the statewide election process under social distancing restraints as well as public health initiatives including contact tracing and expanded testing in rural areas and within vulnerable populations.