Russ McKinney

Education Reform Is Critical To the State's Economy

By Russ McKinney

House Leadership

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.

Bills to Restrict Authority of Local Governments and Education Reform Debated at the State House

By Russ McKinney

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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. Teachers Blast Touted Public School Improvement Bill

By Russ McKinney

Sen Mike Fanning (D-Fairfield) in a recent meeting with public school teachers at the Statehouse.

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.

Change in S.C. Constitution Affects the Lt. Governor and the State Senate

By Russ McKinney

S.C. Senate President Harvey Peeler, R-Cherokee (L).

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.

Gov. McMaster and S.C. General Assembly on Same Page for Education Reform

By Russ McKinney

File: Gov. Henry McMaster

Legislative Battle Over Medical Marijuana Ahead

Members of the S.C.  House and Senate gave Gov. Henry McMaster a number of standing ovations Wednesday night (Jan. 23rd) during his second State of The State Address.  

For the first time in years, a Republican Governor and a Republican legislature are in sync on the major issue facing the state; reforming the state’s public education system.  That is a sign that meaningful reform may be within reach during this year’s legislative session.

Education Reform to Dominate 2019 Legislative Session

By Russ McKinney

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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.

The Fate of SCE&G's Nuclear Charges To Be Determined Next Month

By Russ McKinney

V.C. Summer Units 2 and 3 Aerial View, Jan. 2017.

The question of who will pay for the failed V.C. Summer nuclear reactor project is now in the hands of the seven-member S.C. Public Service Commission, the state’s official utility rate setting authority.

Last week, the PSC completed three weeks of contentious hearings on how much South Carolina Electric and Gas Co. should be allowed to charge its over 700,000 electric ratepayers for the abandoned reactors.  They’ve already paid in over $2 Billion.

Bringing Downtown Back To Life: Smaller Cities Working To Revitalize Their Downtowns

By Russ McKinney

Florence After Five event in downtown Florence

This summer thousands of people have attended home games of the Augusta Green-Jackets, Augusta Georgia’s minor league baseball.  The team plays in a brand new stadium, SRP Park.  The stadium however is located across the Savannah River in South Carolina in the City of North Augusta.  The new, state-of-the-art stadium is the centerpiece of a re-vitalized North Augusta along its riverfront.

North Augusta is just one of a number of smaller cities in the state bringing their downtowns to life by creating new work, living, and play spaces and strengthening their local tax bases.

State House Week for July 29, 2018

By Russ McKinney

State House Week

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.

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