South Carolina Executive Order No. 2023-29 - Declaring State of Emergency Due to Hurricane Idalia
STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA
OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR
EXECUTIVE ORDER No. 2023-29
WHEREAS, the National Hurricane Center has determined from the latest forecast models that Hurricane Idalia, which is currently a category I hurricane, is anticipated to undergo rapid intensification before making landfall along the coast of the State of Florida on August 30, 2023, and is thereafter expected to impact the State of South Carolina and other areas in the southeastern region of the United States; and
WHEREAS, according to preliminary forecasts, Hurricane Idalia and the severe weather conditions associated therewith have the potential to cause significant damage to public and private property and to disrupt essential utility services and other critical systems throughout the State of South Carolina; and
WHEREAS, the undersigned has been advised that Hurricane Idalia-including the anticipated strong winds, heavy rain, flash flooding, dangerous storm surge, and other hazardous weather conditions associated therewith-represents a significant threat to the State of South Carolina, which requires that the State proactively prepare for the potential impacts and take timely precautions to protect and preserve property, critical infrastructure, communities, and the general safety and welfare of the people of this State; and
WHEREAS, in light of the foregoing circumstances, the undersigned has determined that it is necessary and appropriate to take additional proactive action to expedite ongoing preparations and to facilitate future emergency management, response, recovery, and relief efforts in connection with Hurricane Idalia and the forecasted severe weather conditions and anticipated impacts associated with the same; and
WHEREAS, as the elected Chief Executive of the State, the undersigned is authorized pursuant to section 25-1-440 of the South Carolina Code of Laws, as amended, to "declare a state of emergency for all or part of the State if he finds a disaster ... has occurred, or that the threat thereof is imminent and extraordinary measures are considered necessary to cope with the existing or anticipated situation"; and
WHEREAS, in accordance with section 25-1-440 of the South Carolina Code of Laws, when an emergency has been declared, the undersigned is "responsible for the safety, security, and welfare of the State and is empowered with [certain] additional authority to adequately discharge this responsibility,” to include issuing, amending, and rescinding "emergency proclamations and regulations," which shall "have the force and effect of law as long as the emergency exists"; and
WHEREAS, pursuant to section 25-1-440 of the South Carolina Code of Laws, when an emergency has been declared, the undersigned is further authorized to "suspend provisions of existing regulations prescribing procedures for conduct of state business if strict compliance with the provisions thereof would in any way prevent, hinder, or delay necessary action in coping with the emergency"; and
WHEREAS, in addition to the foregoing, section 25-1-440 of the South Carolina Code of Laws authorizes the undersigned, during a declared emergency, to "transfer the direction, personnel, or functions of state departments, agencies, and commissions, or units thereof, for purposes of facilitating or performing emergency services as necessary or desirable," and to "compel performance by elected and appointed state, county, and municipal officials and employees of the emergency duties and functions assigned them in the State Emergency Plan or by Executive Order"; and
WHEREAS, in accordance with section 56-5-70(A) of the South Carolina Code of Laws, as amended, during a declared emergency and in the course of responding to the emergency, requirements relating to registration, permitting, length, width, weight, and load are suspended for commercial and utility vehicles traveling on non-interstate routes for up to one hundred twenty
(120) days, provided that such vehicles do not exceed a gross weight of ninety thousand (90,000) pounds and do not exceed a width of twelve (12) feet, and requirements relating to time of service suspensions for commercial and utility vehicles traveling on interstate and non-interstate routes are suspended for up to thirty (30) days, unless extended for additional periods pursuant to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations; and
WHEREAS, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations limit, inter alia, the hours of service for operators of commercial vehicles, 49 C.F.R. §§ 390 et seq., and federal law prescribes certain weight limitations for vehicles on interstate highways, 23 U.S.C. § 127; and
WHEREAS, pursuant to 49 C.F.R. § 390.23, the governor of a state may suspend certain federal rules and regulations for commercial vehicles responding to an emergency if the governor determines that an emergency condition exists; and
WHEREAS, the undersigned has determined that the prompt restoration of utility services and the uninterrupted transportation of essential goods, equipment, and products to or from the impacted areas are critical to the safety and welfare of the people of South Carolina and neighboring States, such that it is necessary and appropriate for the State of South Carolina to expedite ongoing preparations and support further emergency management, response, recovery, and relief efforts by facilitating the operation of critical transportation services; and
WHEREAS, for the aforementioned and other reasons, and in recognition and furtherance of the undersigned's responsibility to provide for and ensure the health, safety, security, and welfare of the people of the State of South Carolina, after conferring with the relevant state and federal agencies, officials, and experts, the undersigned has determined that Hurricane Idalia and the forecasted severe weather conditions and anticipated impacts associated therewith constitute an actual or imminent emergency for the State of South Carolina and that extraordinary measures are necessary to cope with the existing or anticipated situation.
NOW, THEREFORE, by virtue of the authority vested in me as Governor of the State of South Carolina and pursuant to the Constitution and Laws of this State and of these United States and the powers conferred upon me therein, I hereby declare that a State of Emergency exists in South Carolina. Accordingly, for the foregoing reasons and in accordance with the cited authorities and other applicable law, I further order and direct as follows:
Section 1. Emergency Measures to Prepare for and Respond to Hurricane Idalia
- I hereby activate the South Carolina Emergency Operations Plan ("Plan"), as approved by Executive Order No. 2023-11, and direct that the Plan be further placed into effect and that all prudent preparations be taken at the individual, local, and state levels to prepare for and respond to the forecasted severe weather related to Hurricane Idalia and the potential impacts associated with the same. I further direct the utilization of all available resources of state government as reasonably necessary to address the current State of Emergency. In accordance with Section l(E) of Executive Order No. 2023-11, "[a]ll departments or agencies of the State shall execute, without delay, the emergency functions so designated in the Plan, or as further ordered or otherwise directed by the undersigned, during any emergency or disaster through the initial use of existing depa1tment or agency appropriations and all necessary department or agency personnel, regardless of normal duty assignment."
- I hereby place specified units or personnel, or both, of the South Carolina National Guard on State Active Duty, pursuant to section 25-1-1840 of the South Carolina Code of Laws, as amended, and direct the Adjutant General to issue any supplemental orders he deems necessary and appropriate. I further order the activation of South Carolina National Guard personnel and the utilization of appropriate equipment, in the discretion of the Adjutant General and in coordination with the Director of the South Carolina Emergency Management Division ("EMD"), to take necessary and prudent actions to assist the people of this State. I authorize Dual Status Command, as necessary, to allow the Adjutant General or his designee to serve as commander over both federal (Title 10) and state forces (National Guard in Title 32 status or State Active Duty status, or both).
- I hereby order that all licensing and registration requirements regarding private security personnel or companies contracting with South Carolina security companies in protecting property and restoring essential services in South Carolina shall be suspended, and I direct the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division ("SLED") to initiate an emergency registration process for those personnel or companies for a period specified, and in a manner deemed appropriate, by the Chief of SLED.
- D. I hereby authorize and direct any agency within the undersigned's Cabinet or any other department within the Executive Branch, as defined by section 1-30• l 0 of the South Carolina Code of Laws, as amended, through its respective director or secretary, to waive or "suspend provisions of existing regulations prescribing procedures for conduct of state business if strict compliance with the provisions thereof would in any way prevent, hinder, or delay necessary action in coping with the emergency," in accordance with section 25-1-440 of the South Carolina Code of Laws and other applicable law.
- I hereby authorize and direct state agencies and departments to utilize the emergency procurement procedures set forth in section 11-35-1570 of the South Carolina Code of Laws, as amended, and any regulations issued pursuant thereto, as necessary and appropriate, to facilitate and expedite the acquisition of any critical materials, resources, or services during the State of Emergency.
- I hereby declare that the prohibitions against price gouging pursuant to section 39- 5-145 of the South Carolina Code of Laws, as amended, are in effect and shall remain in effect for the duration of the State of Emergency.
- I hereby waive the requirement of a written mutual aid agreement for law enforcement services authorized by the Law Enforcement Assistance and Support Act, codified as amended in Title 23, Chapter 20 of the South Carolina Code of Laws, during the State of Emergency in accordance with section 23-20-60 of the South Carolina Code of Laws, as amended.
- I hereby authorize and direct state agencies and departments, including state- supported colleges, universities, and technical colleges, to follow county government closure determinations, consistent with the normal state procedure associated with hazardous weather conditions, for purposes of closing state government offices in any such counties or operating the same on an abbreviated schedule to ensure the safety of state employees and the general public. Emergency or other critical personnel designated and determined by, and in the sole discretion of, the corresponding Agency Head, or their designee, as essential or mission-critical to the State's preparation for or response to emergency conditions related to Hurricane Idalia, or otherwise necessary to serve the State of South Carolina or to ensure the continuity of critical operations of state government. may still be required to report to work. State agencies and departments shall utilize, to the maximum extent possible, telecommuting or work-from-home options for non essential employees. Notwithstanding the foregoing, pursuant to section 25-1-440 of the South Carolina Code of Laws, as well as other applicable law, I hereby prohibit any county, municipality, or other political subdivision of the State of South Carolina from restricting access by essential state employees to any location or facility that is occupied or utilized, in whole or in part, by any state agency or department. Accordingly, I hereby direct that any such county, municipality, or other political subdivision of the State shall authorize, allow, and provide access to said locations or facilities by any state agency or department, and the officials and employees thereof, as deemed necessary and appropriate and in the manner prescribed by the state agency or department so as to ensure the uninterrupted performance and provision of emergency, essential, or otherwise mission critical government functions and services during the State of Emergency.
Section 2. Transportation Waivers to Facilitate Emergency Management
- I hereby determine and declare that the ex1stmg and anticipated threats, circumstances, or conditions described herein associated with Hurricane Idalia and the potential impacts related to the same constitute an emergency pursuant to 49 C.F.R. § 390.23 for purposes of suspending certain rules and regulations, as set forth below, for commercial vehicles and operators of commercial vehicles in accordance with 49 C.F.R. § 390.23 and section 56-5-70 of the South Carolina Code of Laws.
- I hereby authorize and direct the South Carolina Department of Transportation ("DOT") and the South Carolina Department of Public Safety ("DPS"), including the State Transport Police, as needed, to waive or suspend application and enforcement of the requisite state and federal rules and regulations pertaining to registration, permitting, length, width, weight, load, and hours of service for commercial vehicles and operators of commercial vehicles operating in accordance with the provisions of any emergency declaration issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration ("FMCSA"); responding or providing direct assistance, as defined by 49 C.F.R. § 390.5, to any emergency conditions or declared emergencies in the State of South Carolina or in other States in connection with the forecasted severe weather associated with Hurricane Idalia or the anticipated impacts thereof; providing direct assistance to supplement state and local efforts and capabilities related to the same; or otherwise assisting with the existing or anticipated threats and circumstances associated with Hurricane Idalia, to include commercial vehicles and operators of commercial vehicles transporting equipment, materials, or persons necessary for the restoration of utility services or debris removal and those transporting essential goods and products, such as food, water, medicine, medical supplies and equipment, fuels and petroleum products (to include fuel oil, diesel oil, gasoline, kerosene, propane, liquid petroleum, and other refined petroleum products and related equipment or assets), livestock, poultry. feed for livestock and poultry, and crops and other agricultural products ready to be harvested (to include timber and wood chips).
- I hereby authorize DOT and DPS, as applicable, to apply for or request any additional federal regulatory relief, waivers, permits, or other appropriate flexibility deemed necessary, whether pertaining to the transportation of overweight loads on interstate highways or otherwise, on behalf of the State of South Carolina and to promptly implement the same without the need for further Orders.
- This Section shall not be construed to require or allow an ill or fatigued driver to operate a commercial motor vehicle. In accordance with 49 C.F.R. § 390.23, "a driver who informs the motor carrier that he or she needs immediate rest must be permitted at least ten (10) consecutive hours off duty before the driver is required to return to such terminal or location." Likewise, this Section shall not be construed as an exemption from the applicable controlled substances and alcohol use and testing requirements in 49 C.F.R. § 382, the commercial driver's license requirements in 49 C.F.R. § 383, or the financial responsibility requirements in 49 C.F.R. § 387, and it shall not be interpreted to relieve compliance with any other state or federal statute, rule, order, regulation, restriction, or other legal requirement not specifically waived, suspended, or addressed herein or addressed in any additional or supplemental guidance. rules, regulations, restrictions, or clarifications issued, provided, or promulgated by DOT or DPS.
- Subject to any guidance, rules, regulations, restrictions, or clarification issued, provided, or promulgated, or which may be issued, provided, or promulgated, by DOT or DPS, as authorized herein or as otherwise provided by law, and notwithstanding the waiver or suspension of certain rules and regulations as set forth above, drivers in South Carolina are still subject to the following state requirements to ensure public safety:
- Weight, height, length, and width for any such vehicle with a minimum of five (5) weight bearing axles on highways or roadways maintained by the State of South Carolina shall not exceed, for continuous travel on all non-interstates, United States, and South Carolina designated routes, maximum dimensions of twelve (12) feet in width (except as provided in Paragraph 5 below), thirteen (13) feet six (6) inches in height, and ninety thousand (90,000) pounds in gross weight.
- Posted bridges may not be crossed.
- All vehicles shall be operated in a safe manner, shall not damage the highways nor unduly interfere with highway traffic, shall maintain the required limits of insurance, and shall be clearly identified as a utility vehicle or shall provide appropriate documentation indicating they are responding to the emergency.
- Except as provided below, any vehicles that exceed the above dimensions, weights, or both, must obtain a permit with defined routes from DOT's Oversize/Overweight Permit ("OSOW") Office. To order a permit, please call (803) 737-6769 during normal business hours, 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., or (803) 206-9566 after normal business hours.
- In accordance with federal law, vehicles traveling on non-interstate routes within the National Network may not exceed a width of 102 inches or 8.6 feet without a special permit. A special permit for width on the National Network is available on DOT's OSOW website, and a list of routes on the National Network is set forth in Appendix A to 23 C.F.R. Part 658.
- Transporters are responsible for ensuring they have oversize signs, markings, flags, and escorts as required by the South Carolina Code of Laws and OSOW guidelines relating to oversize/overweight loads operating on South Carolina roadways.
- I hereby authorize DOT and DPS to issue, provide, or promulgate any necessary and appropriate additional or supplemental guidance, rules, regulations, or restrictions regarding the application, implementation, or enforcement of this Section, or to otherwise provide clarification regarding the same, without the need for further Orders.
- I hereby authorize and direct DPS, including the South Carolina Highway Patrol, as needed, to waive or suspend, in whole or in part, operation of the requisite rules and regulations, to include Regulation 38-600 of the South Carolina Code of Regulations, pertaining to the use of the South Carolina Highway Patrol Wrecker Rotation List.
- This Section is effective immediately and shall remain in effect for thirty (30) days or the duration of the emergency, whichever is less, in accordance with 49 C.F.R. § 390.23 and section 56-5-70(0) of the South Carolina Code of Laws, except that requirements relating to registration, permitting, length, width, weight, and load are suspended for commercial and utility vehicles traveling on non-interstate routes for up to one hundred twenty (120) days, pursuant to the provisions of section 56-5-70 of the South Carolina Code of Laws, unless otherwise modified, amended, or rescinded by subsequent Order.
Section 3. General Provisions
- This Order is not intended to create, and does not create, any individual right, privilege, or benefit, whether substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the State of South Carolina, its agencies, departments, political subdivisions, or other entities, or any officers, employees, or agents thereof, or any other person.
- If any section, subsection, paragraph, subparagraph, sentence, clause, phrase, or word of this Order 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 Order, as the undersigned would have issued this Order, 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.
- This Order shall be implemented consistent with and to the maximum extent provided by applicable law and shall be subject to the availability of appropriations. This Order shall not be interpreted, applied, implemented, or construed in a manner so as to impair, impede, or otherwise affect the authority granted by law to an executive agency or department, or the officials or head thereof, including the undersigned.
- I hereby expressly authorize the Office of the Governor to provide or issue any necessary and appropriate additional or supplemental guidance, rules, regulations, or restrictions regarding the application of this Order or to otherwise provide clarification regarding the same, through appropriate means, without the need for further Orders.
- This Order is effective immediately and shall remain in effect for a period of fifteen(15) days unless otherwise expressly stated herein or modified, amended, or rescinded by subsequent Order. Further proclamations, orders, and directives deemed necessary to ensure the fullest possible protection of life and property during this State of Emergency shall be issued orally by the undersigned and thereafter reduced to writing and published for dissemination within the succeeding 24-hour period.
GIVEN UNDER MY HAND AND THE GREAT SEAL OF THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA, THIS 29th DAY OF AUGUST, 2023.
Secretary of State