politics

Breaking News: Mueller Statement at 11:00 a.m.

May 29, 2019

Special counsel Robert Mueller is making a statement about his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Watch his remarks at the Justice Department live.

The S.C. State House
Ron Cogswell [CC BY 2.0] via Flickr

In the final hours of this year’s session of the state legislature, Senate yesterday passed an economic incentives bill  aimed at persuading the NFL’s Carolina Panthers to move it's headquarters and practice facilities from Charlotte to Rock Hill.  A $250 Million investment for York County.  Rock Hill Senator Wes Climer told the Senate it’s a huge win for the state's economy.

Teachers and their supporters rally outside the South Carolina State House in Columbia on May 1, 2019.
Thelisha Eaddy/SC Public Radio

Some 10,000 teachers and supporters from across the state descended on the Statehouse this week sending a powerful message to lawmakers that they want more state support in funding and in education reforms, and they are not happy with the school improvement bill pending in the legislature.

The South Carolina State House
File

School Improvement Bill Pushed To Next Year

Leaders in the state legislature had hoped that the magnitude of deciding what to do with state-owned utility Santee-Cooper would not interfere with their efforts to pass a desperately needed school improvement bill this year. But with just two weeks remaining in this year’s legislative session Santee Cooper’s future is being debated on the Senate floor, and the education bill is being pushed to next year.

Sen. Chip Campsen (R-Charleston) flanked by Gov. Henry McMaster and a bi-partisan group of State Senators pushing to preempt off-shore drilling for oil and gas along the South Carolina coast.
Russ McKinney/SC Public Radio

Budget Also Contains Off-Shore Oil Prohibition

The S.C. General Assembly passes hundreds of bills and resolutions each year, but the most important measure enacted by the legislature is the annual State Appropriations Bill.  That’s the state’s operating budget for the next fiscal year which begins on July 1.  Not only does the budget provide the funding for state government to operate, it also identifies the priority needs of the state.

Graphic for the funeral services of the Honorable Ernest Frederick "Fritz" Hollings.
SCETV

Watch a live, video stream of funeral coverage begins at 11:00 a.m.

Senator Ernest "Fritz" Hollings (1922-2019) was born in Charleston, South Carolina in 1922. He graduated from The Citadel in 1942 and served as an artillery officer in World War Two. After the war, he was elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives. In 1958, at age 36, he was elected Governor. In 1966, Hollings became a U.S. Senator, an office he would hold for nearly 40 years. In 2003, Hollings retired from political service. The former senator died at the age of 97 on April 6, 2019.

The South Carolina State House
File

State lawmakers are in the final month of this year’s legislative session with most of this year's priority bills still being debated.

This week, a Senate sub-committee opted to hold until next year's session a controversial portion of the massive school improvement bill in hopes of securing passage of the remainder of the bill this year.  The bill which has already passed in the House of Representatives is viewed as the most important matter for the legislature this session.

The late Senator Ernest F. "Fritz" Hollings
U.S. Senate

Former S.C. Governor and U.S. Senator Ernest "Fritz" Hollings died on Saturday, April 6, 2019 at the age of 97. A Democrat, he held elective office for over fifty years. In 2008, Hollings talked with Walter Edgar about his life in politics and government, and about how to "make government work" again.

The South Carolina State House
File

This year’s attempt by pro-life members of the state legislature to pass restrictions on abortions is centered in the House of Representatives.  A bill that would ban almost all abortions if a fetal heartbeat is detected in a woman passed the House Judiciary Committee this week on a mostly party line vote. Experts say a fetal heartbeat can typically be detected around the sixth week of pregnancy.

The South Carolina State House
File

S.C. lawmakers had hoped to keep the decks at the Statehouse clear this legislative session to be able to focus on improving the state’s public school system.  A major education bill has already been approved by the House.

But matters regarding the state’s energy future are generating a lot of attention. 

Aside from the enormous question of whether or not the state should sell Santee Cooper, the debt-plagued state owned utility, the future of solar energy in the state is being debated. 

Santee Cooper headquarters sign.
Santee Cooper

After months of discussion about Santee Cooper, the SC General Assembly this week took the first official actions that could lead to the eventual sale of the state-owned utility.

The State House of Representatives and Senate are considering Joint Resolutions that would begin a process to sell Santee Cooper which is burdened by an enormous debt incurred from the collapse of the giant V.C. Summer Nuclear Project in 2017. 

The S.C. House of Representatives approved the state's FY 2019-20 spending package on March 13, 2019
Russ McKinney/SC Public Radio

This year’s session of the state legislature is at the half-way mark.  And right on schedule this week the House of Representatives passed its’ version of next year’s $9 Billion state spending package.  It now goes to the Senate.

To pay for this year’s push to improve public education the budget contains millions of new education dollars. $160 Million dollars for teacher pay raises.

The House version also funds two percent pay raises for state workers, and $32 Million to help shore-up the state’s aging pension system. 

Republican leadership at the State House pushing a major overhaul of S. C. Public School system.
Gavin Jackson/SCETV

The S.C. House of Representatives this week overwhelmingly passed a major bill that overhauls the state’s education system.

It pumps more money into the system, gives the state education superintendent more ability to take over low-performing school districts, and creates a nearly $100 Million fund to help bring businesses to places where schools are poor and struggling.

The state’s low performing school system is hurting South Carolina’s businesses, and the state's Republican leadership is moving to try and correct deficiencies.

The South Carolina State House
File

The S.C. General Assembly is attempting to exert its authority over local governments in this year’s legislative session.

The House of Representatives this week passed and sent to the Senate a bill that would stop local governments from passing regulations on cigarettes and vaping products.  Supporters of the bill say such power should rest only with the state so as to prevent a mixed bag of laws and regulations from popping up across the state.

NPR News coverage of Michael Cohen’s testimony to the House Oversight Committee will begin at
10:00 a.m. ET on Wednesday, Feb 27.

S.C. Superintendent of Education Mollie Spearman flanked by Gov. Henry McMaster (L) and House Speaker Jay Lucas (R-Darlington) at the Statehouse Feb. 20, 2019.
Gavin Jackson/SCETV

South Carolina’s teachers have made their voices heard at the Statehouse as lawmakers debate a major public education reform bill. 

From the moment House Speaker Jay Lucas and dozens of fellow House members introduced the 84 page omnibus bill last month, teachers have been demanding changes. 

This week, Republican leaders in the legislature sought to re-assure them.

A House education committee is now moving to incorporate some teacher backed changes to the bill.

Trump says he’s declaring emergency to build border wall

Feb 15, 2019

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump announced Friday that he will declare a national emergency to fulfill his pledge to construct a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Trump said he will use executive powers to bypass Congress, which approved far less money for his proposed wall than he had sought. He plans to siphon billions of dollars from federal military construction and counterdrug efforts for the wall. The move is already drawing bipartisan criticism on Capitol Hill and expected to face rounds of legal challenges.

Sen Mike Fanning (D-Fairfield) in a recent meeting with public school teachers at the Statehouse.
Russ McKinney/SC Public Radio

Comprehensive bills to improve the state’s troubled public education system are being debated in both the State House and Senate.

Last month House Speaker Jay Lucas (R-Darlington) and dozens of other lawmakers introduced an 84 page bill aimed at improving student readiness for the workplace, help for rural school districts that are struggling, and perhaps most importantly increasing teacher retention.

African American Legislators Call Judicial Elections a 'Travesty'

The fallout from the 2017 V.C. Summer Nuclear failure continues at the Statehouse. This year lawmakers are dealing with what may be the hard part of unwinding the debacle;  what to do about state owned utility Santee Cooper.

S.C. Senate President Harvey Peeler, R-Cherokee (L).
Russ McKinney/SC Public Radio

When sworn in as the state’s new Lieutenant Governor last month Pamela Evette made history. She  became the first Lieutenant Governor elected as a Governor’s running mat instead of running for the office independently of the Governor.

The primary duty of the Lieutenant Governor is to step-up to the Governor’s Office if necessary as Henry McMaster did when Gov. Nikki Haley resigned the office in 2017.

Instead of being an elected state official the Lieutenant Governor is in essence now a member of the Governor’s staff.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren at Columbia College
Thelisha Eaddy/ SC Public Radio

Senator Elizabeth Warren spoke at Columbia College Wednesday night, during a question and answer forum. The potential presidential candidate spoke to a crowd of almost a thousand about fighting corruption, creating more affordable housing and ending the government shutdown.

Thursday marked day 34 of the partial government shutdown and also the day that the Senate is scheduled to vote on two bills, one proposed by the Democrats, the other by the GOP. 

File: Gov. Henry McMaster
Mark Adams/SCETV

Gov. Henry McMaster delivered his State of the State address Wednesday, January 23, 2019. Addressing a joint session of the South Carolina General Assembly, McMaster laid out his 2019 legislative agenda. 

Sen. Bernie Sanders talks with Benedict College students in Columbia.
Thelisha Eaddy/SC Public Radio

One day after delivering a speech about combatting racism, poverty and war, Senator Bernie Sanders spoke with students at Benedict College in Columbia encouraging them to “think big, not small.”

“When we live in a competitive, global economy, does it make sense to tell young people whose families don’t have a lot of money that they can’t go to college?”

Sanders spent about a half hour answering questions during the event, called a Conversation with students. He said he believes public colleges and universities should be tuition-free.

Russ McKinney/SC Public Radio

Work is underway at the Statehouse on next year’s $9 Billion state budget which is expected to pump money into reforming the state’s public education system.

Gov. McMaster sent his budget recommendations to the legislature this week.  He calls for a 5 percent pay raise for teachers at a cost of about $155 Million, $36 Million for colleges aimed at holding down tuition,  and over $48 Million to put more trained police officers and mental health counselors  in schools.

The South Carolina State House
File

After the first week of this year’s session,  it’s clear that the top priority for the South Carolina General Assembly is improving the state’s public school system, something that education advocates have been seeking for years.

In his Inaugural Address, Gov. Henry McMaster (R) joined legislative leaders in calling for what he termed a “bold" game plan to boost the state’s education system.

Gavin Jackson speaks with Russ McKinney (l) and Seanna Adcox (r) in the South Carolina Public Radio studios on Tuesday, November 13, 2018.
A.T. Shire/SC Public Radio

On this last episode of South Carolina Lede before Thanksgiving, host Gavin Jackson looks back on the 2018 South Carolina midterm elections with Seanna Adcox, The Post and Courier's assistant Columbia bureau chief, and Russ McKinney, South Carolina Public Radio's own statehouse reporter. They profile the constitutional officers who were re-elected around the state, look at the state superintendent referendum that failed on the ballot, and discuss issues with South Carolina's outdated voting machines.

Joe Cunningham chats with supporters and friends after midterm election win
Victoria Hansen/SC Public Radio

After a nail biting night and an all too close early morning win, Congressman-Elect Joe Cunningham addressed the press Wednesday night in front of a small group of family and friends at a longshoremen’s union hall in Charleston.   He spoke about a campaign that began at a kitchen table with no money, no staff and no idea how to run for election.  But Cunningham said he decided to run to fight for a nation less divided for future generations.

A.T. Shire/SC Public Radio

The midterms have come and gone and the South Carolina Lede breaks down the results just minutes after they were announced on election night 2018.

Host Gavin Jackson recaps the action from the state Republican watch party with reporters Jamie Lovegrove with The Post and Courier and Meg Kinnard with The Associated Press.

Kaitlyn Park / SCETV

On this special edition of South Carolina Lede, recorded live at the Growler Haus in the Village of West Greenville, host Gavin Jackson is joined by Associated Press South Carolina Reporter Meg Kinnard and Post and Courier Statehouse Reporter Jamie Lovegrove to recap last week's lieutenant gubernatorial debate and preview this week's midterm elections.

South Carolina Public Radio's own Statehouse Reporter Russ McKinney also drops by to quiz Gavin and the audience about Upstate history.

SC Lede: Final Destination - Nov. 6

Oct 30, 2018
Gavin Jackson with Andy Shain (l) and Charles Bierbauer (r) in the South Carolina Public Radio studios on Monday, October 29.
A.T. Shire/SC Public Radio

On this edition of South Carolina Lede, host Gavin Jackson is joined by Charles Bierbauer, dean emeritus of the USC College of Information and Communications, and Andy Shain, Columbia bureau chief with The Post and Courier, to discuss the final gubernatorial debate between incumbent Republican Gov. Henry McMaster and Democratic candidate James Smith before next week's election.

South Carolina Public Radio's own Statehouse reporter Russ McKinney also stops by to quiz Gavin with South Carolina trivia in this week's Did You Know segment.

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