COLUMBIA, S.C. (WSPA) -A bill that would split the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) is headed to the governor’s desk.
Last week, state lawmakers agreed to legislation that would dissolve DHEC and establish two cabinet agencies: the state Department of Public Health and the state Department of Environmental Services.
The changes don’t take effect until July 1, 2024, but under the legislation, the state Department of Administration is tasked with figuring out the best way to execute these changes once it becomes law.
They’ll also study whether agencies that offer health services like the state Department of Mental Health and the Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services should be restructured or consolidated into the Department of Public Health.
Sen. Tom Davis (R-Beaufort) said, “We’re taking a holistic look at public health for the first time that I can remember.”
Gov. Henry McMaster (R-South Carolina) has voiced his support for the split. He’s expected to sign the bill into law.
“It’s 3,500 employees covering everything from licensing, restaurants, to fish, to pollution,” he said. “It needs to be an environmental and health agency. I think it will work better separated.”