Russ McKinney

SC Officials Fear COVID-19 Spike Over July 4th Holiday

By Russ McKinney

Gov. Henry McMaster Tweeted this photo Thursday afternoon with the caption "Lives depend on it. Wear it."As South Carolina enters the July 4th weekend, public health officials are bracing for what they term as a possible unimaginable number of new cases of the coronavirus. Gov. McMaster said this week the state is facing a test. "It's time for us to make up our minds. July the 4th is coming. Everybody wants to get out. But it is a dangerous opportunity for us to spread this virus," McMaster said. Anticipating large gatherings of people at beaches and other events over the fourth, state officials are pleading with residents to avoid crowds, wear masks and practice social distancing.

SC Continues to See Record Number of New Cases Of COVID-19

By Russ McKinney

SC Gov. Henry McMaster (right) at Fibertex Nonwoven facility in Laurens County, June 5, 2020New cases of the coronavirus are soaring in the state causing a new set of challenges for state and local officials. For the first three months of the COVID-19 pandemic, South Carolina saw relatively low numbers of cases attributed to a series of state mandates ordering schools and many businesses closed, and for people to stay home. But over the past month as restrictions have gradually eased and businesses and restaurants have re-opened, the number of new positive cases has exploded putting South Carolina near the top of states seeing new cases. That is causing concern for state health...

COVID-19 Pandemic Has Potential to Create "Education Crisis for A Generation" Of SC Students

By Russ McKinney

School sign: "E-Learning, No School"For the state's public schools the first of June normally marks the end of the school year. But this year the coronavirus outbreak changed that. On March, 2020 Gov. Henry McMaster ordered schools closed. Last week, State Education Superintendent Mollie Spearman delivered an ominous assessment to a special State Senate Committee. "This COVID-19 pandemic has the potential to create an education crisis for a generation of out South Carolina students," Spearman said. She also said that one third of this instructional year was lost, and told the Senate committee that closing schools and attempting...

SC General Assembly Approves Budget Resolution, Adds New Funding to Combat COVID-19

By Russ McKinney

File photo of the S.C. House chamberThe SC House and Senate were finally able to agree on a resolution this week that will keep state government operating beyond the end of this fiscal year on June 30th. Lawmakers interrupted this year’s legislative session back in March because of the coronavirus outbreak before they approved a new budget for the next fiscal year. Now, the state will continue its’ current spending plan at least until September when it’s anticipated a new budget will be enacted. Lawmakers added millions of dollars to the current budget to help the state combat the COVID-19 pandemic. $115 Million to a COVID...

'We Have the Biology of this Disease... We Have the Psychology of this Disease'

By Russ McKinney

Meeting of "accelerateSC" on April 23, 2020 in Columbia, SCWhile the state’s political and business leadership is focused on bringing South Carolina's economy back as soon as possible, it is becoming increasingly clear to them that restoring public trust that it’s safe to go back to work, travel and shop will be key to unlocking the economy. And the same holds true for re-opening schools.

Coronavirus Causes Uncertainty for South Carolina's State and Local Governments

By Russ McKinney

retail salesSouth Carolina Governor Henry McMaster announced this week that some retail businesses in the state are being allowed to re-open. McMaster hopes the loosening of restrictions on certain retail businesses will re-ignite the state’s economy which prior to start of the pandemic was booming. With thousands of businesses closed, and thousands of people out of work business transactions have slowed tremendously. As a result, anticipated tax revenues for local and state government are expected to drop dramatically.

S.C. House Passes FY 20-21 State Budget

By Russ McKinney

File photo: S.C. House of Representatives chamberThe state is on its way to having a record state budget. The House of Representatives this week approved next year’s state spending package, and for the first time it totals over $10 Billion . The state’s soaring population coupled with an exceptionally strong economy is leading to larger than expected tax revenues allowing state lawmakers to approve significant spending increases for programs such as education, public safety, and infrastructure. The House budget, now on its way to the Senate would also return some of the tax money to taxpayers, one of Republican Gov. Henry McMaster’s budget...

S.C. Senate Finally Passes Education Bill

By Russ McKinney

Bipartisan group of State Senators discuss final passage of the School Improvement Bill at the Statehouse on March 5, 2020.After two years of work and eight weeks of gridlock on the floor of the State Senate … Senators this week were finally able to pass the sweeping School Improvement Bill. Education Committee Chairman Gregg Hembree called it a long, and arduous journey. The bill aims to improve teacher working conditions, streamline required student testing, and give more authority to the state to deal with local school districts that are failing. The bill now goes to the House which passed a similar bill last year. The two versions will have to be reconciled this spring. A possible sale of Santee Cooper, the...

After 7 Weeks, S.C. Senate Limits Debate on Education Bill

By Russ McKinney

File photo of the S.C. Senate in sessionThe S.C. State Senate this week voted to limit debate on the massive public school improvement bill. Senators have been considering the bill for seven weeks. Senate leaders hope to move to a final vote on the bill next week.

Pages