State House Week

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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

State House Week for July 29, 2018

Jun 29, 2018
State House Week
SC Public Radio

This year's session of the SC General Assembly has finally ends, as lawmakers pass a wide-ranging plan to address the V.C. Summer nuclear debacle.

State House Week
SC Public Radio

The SC General Assembly heads towards its' final week of the 2018 session. Key bills have yet to pass, but Democrats in the State Senate managed to kill a sweeping anti-abortion bill.

State House Week
SC Public Radio

The State House and Senate remain at odds over reducing SCE&G's nuclear charge, and the state will soon have a new Child Advocate.

State House Week
SC Public Radio

The S.C. General Assembly has moved to cut SCE&G's nuclear rate, and prison violence sparks calls for action.

State House Week
SC Public Radio

Action on the future of Santee Cooper, and the future solar energy industry were debated by the SC House of Representatives this week.

State House Week
SC Public Radio

Fallout from the V.C. Summer nuclear fiasco dominated action at the State House this week.

State House Week
SC Public Radio

Keeping schools safe, and passage of a new state "liquor bill" highlight action at the Statehouse this week.

House Speaker Jay Lucas, R-Darlington, and House members slamming state Senators for what they see as a lack of Senate action on the V.C. Summer Nuclear debacle. Wednesday, March 7, 2018
Russ McKinney/SC Public Radio

Half way through the 2018 session of the S.C General Assembly, members of the House and Senate are at odds concerning the V.C. Summer Nuclear project, and the Senate has passed a bill re-instating the use of the 'electric chair' for death sentences.

State House Week
SC Public Radio

Gun safety advocates were out in force at the Statehouse this week, and leaders of the House of Representatives express frustration with the State Senate over the V.C. Summer Nuclear issue.

Former Rep. Rick Quinn talking with news reporters at the Richland County Courthouse in Columbia, after his indictment in May, 2017.
Jim Covington/SCETV

More fallout from the ongoing Statehouse corruption probe, and the S.C. Senate moves to give state regulators more time to consider SCANA Corp and Dominion Energy's request to continue to charge ratepayers for the failed V.C. Summer nuclear project.

State House Week
SC Public Radio

This week the issue of the failed V.C. Summer nuclear project moved from the State House of Representatives to the Senate, and a controversial bill prohibiting cities and counties from banning plastic bags being sold is passed by the  House.

The S.C. House voted 119-1 this week to pass a bill that would temporarily halt customers of SCE&G from paying for the abandoned VC Summer Nuclear Project.
Russ McKinney/SC Public Radio

The S.C. House this week passed what's expected to be the most important piece of legislation to be considered during the 2018  legislative session, a repeal of the 2007 Base Load Review Act.

File: Gov. Henry McMaster
Mark Adams/SCETV

Gov. Henry McMaster delivers his first State of the State Address to the SC General Assembly, and as expected fallout from the V.C. Summer nuclear debacle is shaping up to be the dominant issue for this years' legislative session.

State House Week
SC Public Radio

Wintry weather cut this week's session of the SC General Assembly short, but lawmakers had plenty of questions for the CEO of Dominion Energy.  Domion Energy has proposed to buy SCANA Corp., the parent company of South Carolina Electric and Gas.

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