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S.C. lawmakers advance CARES Act spending plan

South Carolina State House
South Carolina State House(WRDW)
Published: Jun. 23, 2020 at 8:38 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - South Carolina state senators unanimously approved their plan on how to allocate most the CARES Act money the state is receiving.

South Carolina is receiving about $1.9 billion from the federal government to cover COVID-19 response.

The money can go to state agencies, local governments, school districts, colleges and universities and hospitals to reimburse them for costs associated with their COVID-19 responses.

Earlier this month, the RE-OPEN SC Senate Select Committee approved some recommendations.

Some of the things the full Senate approved today include: $500 million for the unemployment insurance trust fund, about $220 million for the Department of Education to cover food programs, the five extra days of instruction and summer academic recovery dates, there is also $50 million going towards improving broadband access in South Carolina.

Senator Shane Martin (R-Spartanburg) said, “This has really come to a head. Members of the General Assembly, House, Senate alike. There were just a few of us that had issues with broadband -- now everyone has been faced with this.”

Lawmakers also approved a plan that would allow state Superintendent Molly Spearman to request a federal standardized test exemption fro students.

The plan approved by senators also sets aside $42 million for statewide COVID-19 testing and monitoring.

In total, the plan approved by senators on Tuesday allocates about $1.3 billion. Senators said they are saving that money for other COVID-19 responses between now and December.

Sen. Gerald Malloy (D-Darlington) said: “It’s important for us to be prudent and responsible and act in our capacity so we can spend these funds responsibility. Because if we don’t spend them we have to send them back to the federal government.”

On Wednesday, the House is expected to debate and vote on the COVID-19 relief bill.

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