View Amendment Current Amendment: 16 to Bill 3126

Reps. SIMRILL, G.M. SMITH and HIOTT propose the following Amendment No. to H. 3126 (COUNCIL\SA\3126C026.DF.SA21):

Amend the bill, as and if amended, by striking all after the enacting words and inserting:

/ SECTION1. The State or any political subdivision thereof, including a school district, may not enact a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for any employee, independent contractor, nonemployee vendor, or student as a condition of employment or attendance.

SECTION2. Chapter 15, Title 8 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:

" Section8-15-80. (A) Neither the State, nor any of its political subdivisions, may terminate 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."

SECTION3. (A) If a private employer terminates or suspends an individual because they do not receive a COVID-19 vaccination, that individual is eligible for unemployment benefits.

(B) The General Assembly holds that a federal vaccine mandate is unconstitutional and shall not be enforced by this State. However, if a private employer believes it is subject to the forfeiture of federal funds due to a failure to require employees to receive a COVID-19 vaccination, the private employer may require an unvaccinated employee to undergo weekly COVID-19 testing.

(C) The Department of Health and Environmental Control and the Medical University of South Carolina shall partner with private employers to provide COVID-19 testing.

(D) From the Contingency Reserve Fund, there is appropriated ten million dollars to the Department of Health and Environmental Control and ten million dollars to the Medical University of South Carolina to fund COVID-19 testing for private employers.

SECTION 4.Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a religious exemption or medical exemption must be honored in regards to any COVID-19 vaccine requirement. A medical exemption may include the presence of antibodies, a prior positive COVID-19 test, or pregnancy.

SECTION 5.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.

SECTION 6.This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor and t he provisions of this act are repealed on December 31, 2022 unless reauthorized by the General Assembly. /