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Republicans in SC legislature advancing conservative agenda

FILE PHOTO - The South Carolina Senate
Russ McKinney
SC Public Radio
FILE PHOTO - The South Carolina Senate

As this year’s session of the SC General Assembly heads into its final weeks, it is clear that the commanding Republican majorities in both the House and Senate are allowing them to advance an array of bills from their conservative agenda. This week conservative members of the Senate were able to pass a bill that school choice advocates have been pushing for years. The Education Scholarship Accounts bill allows parents with children who are Medicaid eligible or have special needs to apply for a state scholarship of six thousand dollars to attend a different public school, or a private or religious school. The so-called school voucher program would be limited to five thousand students in its’ first year. Most public school supporters have resisted such a program for years saying it will deprive public schools of needed state funds.

The bill passed with 25 Republican Senators voting for it, and 14 Democrats and one Republican voting no. More and more votes on matters in the legislature these days are advancing or failing on party line votes.

Russ McKinney has 30 years of experience in radio news and public affairs. He is a former broadcast news reporter in Spartanburg, Columbia and Atlanta. He served as Press Secretary to former S.C. Governor Dick Riley for two terms, and for 20 years was the chief public affairs officer for the University of South Carolina.