COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) – South Carolina lawmakers will head to Columbia on Wednesday for a one-day session. The plan is for lawmakers to meet as quickly and safely as possible amidst the Coronavirus pandemic.
Nearly 170 lawmakers are expected to discuss two items up for discussion. The first item is a resolution that would allow for a special session and give lawmakers an outline of what topics they can take up following session adjournment which will happen on May 14th.
This item is typically passed near the end of session.
The second item is a resolution that would keep the state government-funded if a state budget plan for the next fiscal year isn’t passed before session ends. Legislators usually pass a resolution like this when working on the budget.
However, some lawmakers are voicing their concerns over putting almost 200 people in one place at one time given the current circumstances of the pandemic.
“Why can’t we do that remotely? The capability is there,” State Senator Mia McLeod said. “The technology is there. There is just not a willingness to explore those capabilities, and that’s, that’s unfortunate.”
Senator Marlon Kimpson tweeted that he will not be attending session on Wednesday because of the pandemic. His tweet reads in part “I will remain active doing the work on behalf of the people from home as I have done since the beginning of the epidemic.”
Those attending say they will take extra precautions to prevent the potential spread of COVID-19. Balconies will be open on Wednesday so that lawmakers can practice social distancing.
“We’ll see masks. We’ll certainly see six feet, if not a lot more than that,” State Representative Chip Huggins said. “The word has been we’re going to be a lot further than that, so I expect that to be the case. We’re going to probably do voice voting instead of on the board voting like we normally do so that we don’t touch the button.”
Wednesday’s legislative session is expected to start at 1 p.m. at South Carolina’s statehouse in Columbia.