Gov. McMaster tells General Assembly not to return until June, hopes to avoid government shutdown

South Carolina News

FILE (AP Photo/Sean Rayford, File)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) – Governor McMaster is hopeful South Carolina will be ready to return to work in the coming weeks – including the General Assembly – who will need to work to avoid a state government shutdown.

In a letter to SC Senate President Harvey Peeler, Gov. McMaster said the Department of Health and Environmental Control projects that the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases and fatalities in the state will peak around May 1st and begin a gradual decline.

Earlier on Thursday, Peeler sent a letter to Governor McMaster calling for the return to legislature in June to finish any necessary work.

“I appreciate the Governor’s offer to call the legislature back in June.  I view the Governor’s letter as an insurance policy,” said President Peeler. “However, like all insurance policies, I hope it is one that is never needed. I, like most South Carolinians, hope that our state and our legislature can be back at work much sooner so that his offer will not be necessary.”

Gov. McMaster responded to Peeler by saying he hoped to offer a solution in preventing a state government shutdown during the coronavirus pandemic to protect the health and safety of the members of the General Assembly and their staff.

“As you are aware, the Department of Health and Environmental Control projects that the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases and fatalities in the state will peak around May 1st and begin a gradual decline afterward.”

He said returning to session before May 14, even briefly, could place the health and safety of members at an elevated risk for exposure to the virus.

“I believe – and hope – that by late June that risk will have diminished to the extent that businesses and activities in our state may safely resume and conducted using personal safety precautions.”

Gov. McMaster said he will call the General Assembly into session before the end of the fiscal year on a date and time of President Peeler’s choosing, in hopes of passing a resolution for the operation of state government.

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