Get Out and Vote TOMORROW, We Need Your Help to Pass Liability Protection for Businesses, National Unemployment Situation
Email to COVID-19 Mailing List: June 8th
Today’s COVID-19 business information compiled by your SC Chamber Team includes: Get Out and Vote TOMORROW, We Need Your Help to Pass Liability Protection for Businesses, National Unemployment Situation
Polls for the state primary elections will open tomorrow, June 9th, from 7 am-7 pm. Voters will be able to vote for candidates for congressional seats, state Senate and House seats, and local seats. Please note that due to COVID-19, as voters go out to vote tomorrow, several safety measures will be in place.
COVID-19 Voting Precautions: Because of a lack of poll workers, there are fewer voting locations than usual. You can find out where your polling location is by clicking here. According to the SC Election Commission (Election Commission), several safety measures will be in place for in-person voting on June 9th. They include:
- Specialized COVID-19 training for poll managers and supplies to apply social distancing and cleaning of common surfaces in the polling place.
- Managers wearing masks, face shields, and gloves.
- Sneeze guards placed at check-in stations.
- Hand sanitizer available for voters and poll managers.
Additionally, the Election Commission notes that voters should wear masks (but are not required to), maintain six feet of distance between themselves and others, bring their own pen to sign the ballot, and bring a photo ID. You can find more information on the precautions here.
SC Chamber PAC Supported Candidates for June 9th Primary: As a reminder, the SC Chamber PAC is supporting 17 candidates in the June 9th primary, including seven Senate races and ten House races. All candidates supported by the SC Chamber PAC, as well as more information on the candidates and their scores on the annual SC Chamber Scorecard, can be found here.
The SC Chamber will be providing an update on all congressional and state candidate election results, including the Chamber PAC-supported candidates as soon as results for all elections are final. To receive that email, please subscribe here.
As you have heard in many of our recent emails, the Chamber and many of our industry partners have been working hard to get liability protection legislation passed at the state and federal levels. We’ve heard the calls from you – our membership – about how vital liability protections are to reopening the economy and bringing our jobs back.
We still need your help – the South Carolina House and Senate liability committees are having meetings this week with the General Assembly set to return Tuesday, June 23rd (Senate) and June 24th (House). With the bodies only expected to be in session for two (House) and three days (Senate), the only way liability protection can pass before September is if legislators hear from businesses across the state about how important it is that this gets done quickly.
We encourage you to send in testimony to BOTH the House and Senate committees if you haven’t already. The committees both meet this week:
- Senate Re-Open SC Business Liability Subcommittee Meeting: The meeting is at 2:00 pm on Wednesday, June 10th. View the meeting live via www.scstatehouse.gov. We expect this to be the FINAL meeting of this group, and if they cannot agree on legislation, it may delay until September. Submit written testimony to President@scsenate.gov (cc Katie Titus at firstname.lastname@example.org)
- House COVID-19 Liability Protection Review Committee: meeting time is TBD on Thursday, June 11th. The meeting can also be viewed live via www.scstatehouse.gov. Submit written testimony to email@example.com (cc Katie Titus at firstname.lastname@example.org)
You can view language for written testimony here, but feel free to add your own experience in emphasizing the need to pass legislation. The legislation has little chance of passing if legislators don’t continue to hear from employers about how protecting businesses from unwarranted lawsuits is key to effectively rebuilding our state’s economy.
If you have any questions or need any additional assistance facilitating written testimony, please reach out to Katie Titus at email@example.com or 916-996-2015.
National Unemployment: The US Department of Labor (DOL) Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) announced Friday that the unemployment rate fell to 13.3% and the economy added 2.5 million jobs in May. The additional jobs represent the largest monthly gain since the recording of data began in 1939. The release also noted that the most significant increases occurred in leisure and hospitality, construction, education and health services, and retail trade.
As a reminder, in April 2020, the unemployment rate was 14.7%, and the economy lost 20.5 million jobs.
Stock Market: The market posted significant gains last week and into today, putting the S&P 500 close to wiping out its total losses for 2020. Wall Street now has risen about 43% since its low on March 23rd. Shares of airlines, retailers, cruise liners, and many other pandemic-sidelined companies led the rally, and the unemployment percentage reduction announcement last Friday added significant fuel.
The US Enters Recession: While Wall Street continues to rally and unemployment numbers improve, the National Bureau of Economic Research’s (NBER) Business Cycle Dating Committee officially announced that the US entered a recession in February 2020 after a record 128-month expansion which began in June 2009.
The NBER noted that this recent contraction and ensuing recession are unique stating, “The committee recognizes that the pandemic and the public health response have resulted in a downturn with different characteristics and dynamics than prior recessions. Nonetheless, it concluded that the unprecedented magnitude of the decline in employment and production, and its broad reach across the entire economy, warrants the designation of this episode as a recession, even if it turns out to be briefer than earlier contractions.”
Most economists currently expect this recession to be deep and relatively short-lived.