South Carolina ending pandemic state of emergency

South Carolina ending pandemic state of emergency
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South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R) ended his state's COVID-19-related state of emergency on Monday, arguing that conditions had improved enough to return to normal.

“It is no longer necessary for us to have a state of emergency,” McMaster said during a news conference, The Associated Press reported. “We need to proceed on the course that we have set out, and be careful.”

The AP noted that McMAster has issued 30 separate emergency declarations throughout the coronavirus pandemic, allowing him to enact multiple temporary policies through executive orders aimed at combating the spread of the virus.

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South Carolina law allows the governor to issue an emergency declaration for 15 days before state lawmakers are required to get involved. McMaster issued 30 separate declarations, at times making only incremental changes. The governor said his goal was to keep the government operating, not to avoid government oversight.

Lawmakers in the South Carolina House and Senate this year discussed limiting the governor's power to issue an emergency declaration, the AP noted. State Senate Majority Leader Shane Massey (R) brought up a proposal in May to end what he referred to as "the perpetual state of emergency we find ourselves in," but the measure did not pass.

“We probably need to clarify the way these states of emergency are issued,” McMaster said on Monday, the AP reported.

According to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, around 38 percent of residents are fully vaccinated and roughly 46 percent have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine.