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SC Senate Plans October Special Session; Masks Not on Agenda

South Carolina Statehouse File Photo
Meg Kinnard/AP
/
AP
FILE - This Jan. 17, 2021, file photo shows the South Carolina Statehouse in Columbia, S.C. (AP Photo/Meg Kinnard, File)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina senators plan to return to the Statehouse next month for a special session on spending federal COVID-19 relief money and redistricting.

But one thing not on the agenda at the moment for the Oct. 12 session is any discussion of mask rules.

Senate President Harvey Peeler wrote in a letter to senators Thursday that he wants to limit debate to matters in the resolution when the regular session adjourned in May.

Drawing new lines for state House and Senate and U.S. House districts were on the list along with spending billions of dollars in federal pandemic funds and from a settlement with the federal government over radioactive material stored past a deadline at the Savannah River Site.

Masks were not in that resolution. The House put a provision in the budget passed in June that prevented school districts from requiring masks and the Senate did not remove it. Back then, the state was seeing about 150 new COVID-19 cases a day. Now it is an average of well over 4,000 new cases each day.

The Senate can take up matters not in its session-ending resolution, but that requires a two-thirds vote in a chamber with 30 Republicans and 16 Democrats. Peeler is a Republican from Gaffney.

House leaders have not said whether they plan to have a special session this fall.