South Carolina General Assembly
124th Session, 2021-2022

Download This Bill in Microsoft Word format

A142, R156, H3126

STATUS INFORMATION

General Bill
Sponsors: Reps. Jones, Burns, Chumley, Magnuson, Taylor, Haddon, Long, Forrest, McCabe, Oremus, Hill, M.M. Smith, Huggins, Wooten, Ballentine, Bustos, B. Cox, Elliott, Trantham, Willis, Nutt, Morgan, McCravy, Thayer, V.S. Moss, Stringer, T. Moore, Allison, Hixon, Bennett, Fry, Kimmons, Davis and Murphy
Document Path: l:\council\bills\sm\20129sa21.docx

Introduced in the House on January 12, 2021
Introduced in the Senate on January 11, 2022
Last Amended on April 6, 2022
Passed by the General Assembly on April 20, 2022
Governor's Action: April 25, 2022, Signed

Summary: Vaccine mandates

HISTORY OF LEGISLATIVE ACTIONS

     Date      Body   Action Description with journal page number
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
   12/9/2020  House   Prefiled
   12/9/2020  House   Referred to Committee on Ways and Means
   1/12/2021  House   Introduced and read first time (House Journal-page 81)
   1/12/2021  House   Referred to Committee on Ways and Means 
                        (House Journal-page 81)
   1/27/2021  House   Member(s) request name added as sponsor: Hill
   12/6/2021  House   Member(s) request name added as sponsor: M.M.Smith, 
                        Huggins, Wooten, Ballentine, Bustos, B.Cox, Elliott, 
                        Trantham, Willis, Nutt, Morgan, McCravy, Thayer, 
                        Dillard, V.S.Moss, Stringer, T.Moore, Allison, Hixon, 
                        Bennett
   12/9/2021  House   Member(s) request name removed as sponsor: Dillard
   12/9/2021  House   Member(s) request name added as sponsor: Fry
   12/9/2021  House   Committee report: Favorable with amendment Ways and 
                        Means (House Journal-page 2)
   12/9/2021  House   Special order, set for  immediately upon adoption of 
                        H. 4493 (House Journal-page 7)
   12/9/2021  House   Member(s) request name added as sponsor: Kimmons, Davis, 
                        Murphy
   12/9/2021  House   Amended (House Journal-page 10)
   12/9/2021  House   Read second time (House Journal-page 10)
   12/9/2021  House   Roll call Yeas-67  Nays-31 (House Journal-page 36)
  12/10/2021  House   Read third time and sent to Senate (House Journal-page 3)
  12/10/2021  House   Roll call Yeas-60  Nays-25 (House Journal-page 3)
   1/11/2022  Senate  Introduced and read first time (Senate Journal-page 23)
   1/11/2022  Senate  Referred to Committee on Finance (Senate Journal-page 23)
    3/1/2022  Senate  Committee report: Favorable with amendment Finance
    3/2/2022          Scrivener's error corrected
   3/17/2022          Scrivener's error corrected
    4/5/2022  Senate  Special order, set for  April 5, 2022 
                        (Senate Journal-page 57)
    4/5/2022  Senate  Amended (Senate Journal-page 58)
    4/5/2022  Senate  Read second time (Senate Journal-page 58)
    4/6/2022          Scrivener's error corrected
    4/6/2022  Senate  Amended (Senate Journal-page 108)
    4/6/2022  Senate  Committee Amendment Withdrawn (Senate Journal-page 108)
    4/6/2022  Senate  Read third time and returned to House with amendments 
                        (Senate Journal-page 108)
    4/6/2022  Senate  Roll call Ayes-29  Nays-12 (Senate Journal-page 108)
    4/7/2022          Scrivener's error corrected
    4/8/2022          Scrivener's error corrected
   4/20/2022  House   Concurred in Senate amendment and enrolled 
                        (House Journal-page 16)
   4/20/2022  House   Roll call Yeas-76  Nays-34 (House Journal-page 16)
   4/21/2022          Ratified R  156
   4/25/2022          Signed By Governor
    5/2/2022          Effective date  04/25/22
    5/2/2022          Act No.  142

View the latest legislative information at the website

VERSIONS OF THIS BILL

12/9/2020
12/9/2021
12/9/2021-A
3/1/2022
3/2/2022
3/17/2022
4/5/2022
4/6/2022
4/6/2022-A
4/7/2022
4/7/2022-A
4/8/2022


(Text matches printed bills. Document has been reformatted to meet World Wide Web specifications.)

(A142, R156, H3126)

AN ACT TO DECLARE THAT THE PRACTICE OF DISCRIMINATION BASED ON VACCINATION STATUS IS IN CONFLICT WITH THE IDEALS OF SOUTH CAROLINA; TO PROVIDE THAT THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY BELIEVES THAT A FEDERAL VACCINE MANDATE IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL; TO PROVIDE THAT THE STATE OR ANY POLITICAL SUBDIVISION MAY NOT ENACT A COVID-19 VACCINATION MANDATE; TO AMEND THE CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, BY ADDING SECTION 8-15-80 SO AS TO PROVIDE THAT NEITHER THE STATE NOR ANY OF ITS POLITICAL SUBDIVISIONS MAY TERMINATE OR SUSPEND A FIRST RESPONDER BASED ON HIS VACCINATION STATUS; TO PROVIDE FOR CERTAIN UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS; TO PROVIDE THAT NOTHING IN THIS ACT SHALL PREVENT AN EMPLOYER FROM ENCOURAGING OR ADMINISTERING VACCINES; TO PROVIDE RESTRICTIONS FOR A PRIVATE EMPLOYER'S VACCINE MANDATE; TO PROVIDE THAT CERTAIN VACCINE EXEMPTIONS MUST BE HONORED; TO PROVIDE THAT NO PERSON MAY BE DISCRIMINATED AGAINST BASED ON VACCINATION STATUS; AND TO REENACT ACT 99 OF 2021 RELATING TO SOUTH CAROLINA COVID-19 LIABILITY SAFE HARBOR.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:

COVID-19 vaccination discrimination

SECTION    1.    The General Assembly declares the practice of discrimination against an individual because the individual has chosen not to receive a COVID-19 vaccination or booster is a matter of state concern and is in conflict with the ideals of South Carolina and the nation, as this discrimination interferes with opportunities of the individual to receive employment and to develop according to the individual's own ability.

Vaccine mandate

SECTION    2.    The General Assembly believes that a federal vaccine mandate is unconstitutional and shall not be enforced by this State unless, after legal challenge, courts of this State or of the United States of America hold the federal vaccine mandate to be enforceable.

COVID-19 vaccination mandate restriction

SECTION    3.    (A)    Except as provided in subsection (B), the State or any political subdivision thereof, including a school district, may not enact a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for any:

(1)    employee, independent contractor, or nonemployee vendor as a condition of employment or conducting business with the State or a political subdivision;

(2)    student as a condition of attendance; or

(3)    participant, volunteer, or other person associated with an auxiliary event, activity, or program as a condition for participating in, volunteering for, or associating with the auxiliary event, activity, or program.

(B)    If the State or any political subdivision thereof, including a school district, is subject to a federal requirement that would lead to the forfeiture of federal funds due to a failure to require employees, independent contractors, or nonemployee vendors to receive a COVID-19 vaccination:

(1)    the employer may require an unvaccinated employee, independent contractor, or nonemployee vendor to undergo weekly COVID-19 testing if the federal requirement allows for testing as an alternative to vaccination; or

(2)    the employee is eligible for unemployment benefits subject to the benefit amounts, duration, and requirements as provided in Article 1, Chapter 35, Title 41 if the federal mandate gives the employer no alternative to terminating the employee without forfeiting federal funds.

(C)    The Department of Health and Environmental Control and the Medical University of South Carolina shall partner with state and local government employers to provide COVID-19 testing as provided in subsection (B)(1).

COVID-19 vaccination for first responders

SECTION    4.    Chapter 15, Title 8 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:

"Section    8-15-80.    (A)    Neither the State, nor any of its political subdivisions, may terminate, suspend, or otherwise reduce the compensation of a person employed as a first responder if the first responder does not undergo a COVID-19 vaccination.

(B)    For purposes of this section, 'first responder' means a law enforcement officer, firefighter, emergency medical technician, or paramedic who is paid from public funds."

Unemployment benefits

SECTION    5.    (A)    If a private employer terminates, suspends, or otherwise reduces the compensation of an employee because the employee does not receive a COVID-19 vaccination or booster, that employee is eligible for unemployment benefits subject to the benefit amounts, duration, and requirements as provided in Article 1, Chapter 35, Title 41.

(B)    For purposes of this SECTION, "private employer" means all employers other than the State and its political subdivisions, including school districts.

Incentives for vaccination

SECTION    6.    Nothing contained in this act shall prevent an employer from encouraging, promoting, or administering vaccinations, and nothing in this act shall prevent an employer from offering incentives to employees who elect to be vaccinated.

Private employer's vaccine mandate

SECTION    7.    (A)    A private employer's vaccine mandate may not:

(1)    extend to independent contractors, nonemployee vendors, or other third parties that provide goods or services to the employer; and

(2)    be used to coerce independent contractors, nonemployee vendors, or other third parties that provide goods or services to the employer into implementing a vaccine mandate to maintain the business relationship.

(B)    For purposes of this SECTION, "private employer" means all employers other than the State and its political subdivisions, including school districts.

(C)(1)    The provisions of this SECTION do not apply to an employer if the employer submits an affidavit with the Department of Employment and Workforce attesting to the fact that the employer has a contract with the federal government, a subcontract with a federal contractor, or is subject to a federal regulation that contains a valid, enforceable provision that is contrary to the requirements of this SECTION.

(2)    The provisions of this SECTION do not apply to an employer seeking to enter into a federal contract, or a subcontract with a prospective federal contractor, that includes a valid, enforceable provision that is contrary to the requirements of this SECTION if the employer submits an affidavit with the Department of Employment and Workforce attesting to the fact that if the employer is awarded the contract or subcontract, then the employer must enforce a provision that is contrary to the requirements of this SECTION.

(3)    An affidavit filed with the Department of Employment and Workforce pursuant to this subsection remains in effect until revoked by the employer.

COVID-19 vaccination exemptions

SECTION    8.    (A)    Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a religious exemption or medical exemption must be honored regarding any COVID-19 vaccine or booster requirement. A medical exemption may include the presence of antibodies, a prior positive COVID-19 test, or pregnancy. To claim a religious exemption, a person must provide his employer with a short, plain statement attesting to the fact that a tenet of his deeply held religious convictions would be violated by receiving the COVID-19 vaccine and booster.

(B)(1)    The provisions of this SECTION do not apply to an employer if the employer submits an affidavit with the Department of Employment and Workforce attesting to the fact that the employer has a contract with the federal government, a subcontract with a federal contractor, or is subject to a federal regulation that contains a valid, enforceable provision that is contrary to the requirements of this SECTION.

(2)    The provisions of this SECTION do not apply to an employer seeking to enter into a federal contract, or a subcontract with a prospective federal contractor, that includes a valid, enforceable provision or would be subject to a federal regulation that is contrary to the requirements of this SECTION if the employer submits an affidavit with the Department of Employment and Workforce attesting to the fact that if the employer is awarded the contract or subcontract, then the employer must enforce a provision that is contrary to the requirements of this SECTION.

(3)    An affidavit filed with the Department of Employment and Workforce pursuant to this subsection remains in effect until revoked by the employer.

Vaccination status

SECTION    9.    (A)    All persons shall be entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations of any place of public accommodation without discrimination or segregation on the basis of the person's vaccination status.

(B)    No person shall withhold, deny, or attempt to withhold or deny, or deprive, or attempt to deprive any person of any right or privilege secured by the provisions of subsection (A); or intimidate, threaten, coerce, or attempt to intimidate, threaten, or coerce any person with the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege secured by the provisions of subsection (A); or punish or attempt to punish any person for exercising or attempting to exercise any right or privilege secured by the provisions of subsection (A).

(C)    Each of the following establishments that serves the public is a place of public accommodation within the meaning of this SECTION if discrimination or segregation by it is supported by state action:

(1)    any inn, hotel, motel, or other establishment that provides lodging to transient guests, other than an establishment located within a building which contains not more than five rooms for rent or hire and which is actually occupied by the proprietor of such establishment as his residence;

(2)    any restaurant, cafeteria, lunchroom, lunch counter, soda fountain, or other facility principally engaged in selling food for consumption on the premises including, but not limited to, any such facility located on the premises of any retail establishment, or any gasoline station;

(3)    any hospital, clinic, or other medical facility that provides overnight accommodations;

(4)    any retail or wholesale establishment;

(5)    any motion picture house, theater, concert hall, billiard parlor, saloon, barroom, golf course, sports arena, stadium, or other place of amusement, exhibition, recreation, or entertainment; and

(6)    any establishment that is physically located within the premises of any establishment otherwise covered by this subsection, or within the premises of which is physically located any such covered establishment, and which holds itself out as serving patrons of such covered establishment.

(D)    The provisions of this SECTION do not apply to a private club or other establishment not in fact open to the general public. An institution, a club, an organization, or a place of accommodation, as defined in subsection (C), that offers memberships for less than thirty days is not private within the meaning of this SECTION.

(E)    Complaints concerning violations of the provisions of this SECTION must be processed and heard pursuant to Article 3, Chapter 9, Title 45. Penalties and remedies for violations of this SECTION are governed by the provisions contained in Article 5, Chapter 9, Title 45.

(F)    For the purposes of this SECTION:

(1)    "Supported by state action" means the licensing or permitting of any establishment or any agent of an establishment listed above, subject to the exclusion provided in Section 45-9-20, which has or must have a license or permit from the State, its agencies, or local governmental entities to lawfully operate.

(2)    "Vaccination status" means whether a person has been vaccinated against COVID-19 or has received a COVID-19 vaccination booster.

Reenactment of Act 99 of 2021

SECTION    10.    The provisions contained in Act 99 of 2021, the South Carolina COVID-19 Liability Immunity Act, are hereby reenacted, retroactive to the date that Act 99 of 2021 expired, by this act. Act 99 of 2021's provisions apply to all civil and administrative causes of action that arise between March 13, 2020, and December 31, 2023, and are based upon facts that occurred during this time period.

Severability

SECTION    11.    If any section, subsection, paragraph, subparagraph, sentence, clause, phrase, or word of this act is for any reason held to be unconstitutional or invalid, such holding shall not affect the constitutionality or validity of the remaining portions of this act, the General Assembly hereby declaring that it would have passed this act, and each and every section, subsection, paragraph, subparagraph, sentence, clause, phrase, and word thereof, irrespective of the fact that any one or more other sections, subsections, paragraphs, subparagraphs, sentences, clauses, phrases, or words hereof may be declared to be unconstitutional, invalid, or otherwise ineffective.

Time effective

SECTION    12.    This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor. All provisions of this act are repealed on December 31, 2023, unless reauthorized by the General Assembly.

Ratified the 21st day of April, 2022.

Approved the 25th day of April, 2022.

__________


This web page was last updated on May 11, 2022 at 10:01 AM