SC STATE OF STATE
Governor asks SC in speech to boldly roar into the 20s
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Gov. Henry McMaster says South Carolina is booming and thriving under his leadership, but needs to take bold action to make sure schoolchildren don't fall behind and the state continues to prosper. McMaster gave his State of the State address to lawmakers Wednesday. There were no surprises. McMaster asked for or highlighted items he has already announced like $410 million given back to taxpayers through income tax cuts and rebates, and a $3,000 raise for all teachers. Democratic House Minority Leader Todd Rutherford disagreed with McMaster's rosy picture, saying roads and buildings are crumbling and social service agencies are failing the state's most vulnerable people.
SOUTH CAROLINA PRISONS
With Mississippi on his mind, SC prison chief asks for $100M
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The director of South Carolina prisons is asking for more than $100 million to upgrade security and raise employee salaries. Director Bryan Stirling appeared Wednesday before a panel of three House members for the first of about a half-dozen meetings about his request. Stirling wants a new electronic lock system to replace the physical key needed to unlock each cell. He also wants to modernize air conditioning and heating systems; repair and buy new fencing; and build elevated, secured platforms so guards can see an entire wing while being separated from inmates. Recent violence at both South Carolina and Mississippi prisons are on Stirling and lawmaker's minds.
RIDE-HAILING PASSENGER KILLED
Police: Ride-hailing driver fatally shot passenger in fight
JOHNS ISLAND, S.C. (AP) — Authorities in South Carolina say a driver for a ride-hailing service fatally shot his passenger during an altercation in the car. Charleston police responded to a call late Tuesday night to a parking lot on Johns Island. Police found a 51-year-old man suffering from a fatal gunshot wound in the backseat of a Chevrolet Cruze. Police spokesman Charles Francis said investigators believe an altercation happened inside the vehicle and the driver then shot the passenger. The driver had not been charged with a crime as of Wednesday night. Details about the driver and the victim weren't immediately released.
AGING DEPARTMENT LEADER
SC Senate unanimously approves Aging Department leader
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina has a new director of the state Department of Aging. The Senate unanimously approved former mental health counselor Connie Munn to run the agency on Wednesday. Gov. Henry McMaster selected Munn after his first choice, longtime friend Stephen Morris, was rejected. Senators were told Morris treated white male supervisors better and made derogatory remarks toward women and minorities. The Department of Aging provides meals and caregiver support for the state's growing elderly population. The 40-worker agency used to be under the lieutenant governor, but was moved into the governor's Cabinet after state voters decided to stop electing the lieutenant governor independently.
Lewis wins Greenville County sheriff GOP runoff
GREENVILLE, S.C. (AP) — Hobart Lewis won the Republican primary runoff for Greenville County sheriff. Lewis defeated AT “Tommy” Smith in Tuesday's election, getting 72.3% of the votes to Smith's 27.6 %, unofficial results show. News outlets report the results will be finalized Thursday. The Greenville County Election Commission says more than 37,600 people voted in the runoff. Lewis will face Democrat candidate Paul Guy in the March 10 general election. The position opened after former Sheriff Will Lewis was found guilty on a charge of misconduct of a public officer
COACH-BASKETBALL GAME ALTERCATION
SC coaches on leave after altercation at high school game