Russ McKinney

2019 Session of The SC General Assembly Adjourns - Several Major Bills Still Await Action

By Russ McKinney

The S.C. State House

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.

State House Week: Thousands of Teachers Ralley for Education Reform

By Russ McKinney

Teachers and their supporters rally outside the South Carolina State House in Columbia on May 1, 2019

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.

Santee Cooper Debate Begins In Senate

By Russ McKinney

The South Carolina State House

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.

2019-20 State Budget Advances with Major Increases In Education Funding

By Russ McKinney

Sen. Chip Campsen (R-Charleston) flanked by Gov. Henry McMaster and a bi-partisan group of State Senators

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.

Education Improvement Bill Slows in the S.C. General Assembly

By Russ McKinney

The South Carolina State House

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.

Fetal Heartbeat Abortion Bill Heads to Debate in the SC House

By Russ McKinney

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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.

Energy Matters Dominate This Week at the S.C. Statehouse

By Russ McKinney

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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. 

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.

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