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S.C. State House roundup: McMaster pens letter urging election legislation

Henry McMaster
Henry McMaster(WRDW)
Published: Mar. 8, 2021 at 1:55 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, S.C. - Gov. Henry McMaster wrote a letter to every member of the South Carolina General Assembly urging them to “protect the integrity of South Carolina’s elections.”

McMaster says he is supporting legislation sponsored by House Speaker Jay Lucas.

The governor’s office says this legislation would give the State Election Commission the authority to standardize election practices in all 46 of South Carolina’s counties and add four members to the State Election Commission.

Those four members would be appointed by the General Assembly, McMaster says.

“The right to vote is the single most important right afforded by the United States Constitution. As governor, I am committed to ensuring that all eligible South Carolinians can freely exercise that right with confidence in the fairness and integrity of the electoral process,” Governor McMaster wrote. “This critical legislation will enhance accountability at the State Election Commission and safeguard the voting process against the threat of fraud, which – if left unchecked – could do permanent damage to our republican form of government.”

Charter schools get extra $9 million because of pandemic

COLUMBIA, S.C. - The South Carolina Senate has agreed to send an extra $9 million to public charter schools in the state because of additional expenses in the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Senate unanimously approved the proposal Thursday, which had already passed the House in January.

But senators made a slight change in the bill saying the money could not be used for raises for administrators, so the House must give its approval again.

The Public Charter School District told lawmakers it needs the extra money because its enrollment and other expenses increased significantly during the pandemic.

There are about three dozen charter schools across South Carolina that are under the statewide Public Charter School District and the Charter Institute at Erskine College. They have about 40,000 students.

SC House passes bill to ticket slow left lane drivers

COLUMBIA, S.C. - The South Carolina House has passed a bill that would let police write a ticket for someone driving too slow in the left lane.

The House voted 108-0 to pass the bill Thursday, which would make it illegal for a driver to stay in the left lane if they know or should know they are going to be overtaken by a faster vehicle and can safely change lanes.

Violators could face a $200 fine or 30 days in jail. The House removed a two-point penalty on the violator’s driver’s license before voting Thursday.

The bill now goes to the Senate.

Similar proposals have been frequently debated in recent years at the General Assembly, but have not passed. House Speaker Jay Lucas called it the “oft-debated, seldom passed” bill as he called for the vote.

Supporters have been passionate about it.

“I have been working on not using profanity as much,” said Rep. Cezar McKnight, a Democrat who drives from Kingstree to Columbia about every day during session. “Did you know the people who are violating the laws as stated in your bill are keeping me from fulfilling my promise to myself?”

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