TOP FIVE: From car insurance costs to abortion politics to Trump’s supporters

Staff reports  |  Our weekly Top Five feature offers big stories or views from the past week with policy and legislative implications that could impact South Carolina.  If you have stories to suggest to our readers, send to:  feedback@statehousereport.com.

1. Car insurance premiums spike thanks to crashes, repair bills, The Post and Courier, June 6, 2017

Hold onto your wallet.  Your car insurance premiums likely are going to go up a lot, thanks to too many wrecks in South Carolina and repair bills that are getting more expensive.  An excerpt from this story:

“The state’s 10 largest auto insurers increased premiums an average of 8.9 percent last year, according to the S.C. Department of Insurance, more than double the rate of change they recorded in 2015. That came as the gap between what carriers take in and what they pay out widened: In 2015, insurers paid about $1.11 in claims for every dollar they collected in premiums.”

2. College tuition high in Palmetto State, Sam Becker in Cheat Sheet, June 7, 2017

College costs vary from state to state, but the Palmetto State is one of the most expensive, according to this article which ranks it as 10th highest.  An excerpt:

“When you think higher education, you might not think of South Carolina. But the state is home to several large schools, where tens of thousands earn their degrees. It’s also among the top 10 for the most expensive college costs in the country, with one year of in-state tuition at a public school racking up at $10,691. If you want to go to a private university, that number jumps to $21,769.”

3. Planned Parenthood cries foul to gubernatorial attacks, The State, June 6, 2017

The state’s two top officials, Gov. Henry McMaster and Lt. Gov. Kevin Bryant, this week tried to bolster their conservative political credentials through stunts that attacked abortion funding that’s not a problem, according to Planned Parenthood.

McMaster asked the state health agency to “reaffirm” its policy not to allow federal grant money to fund abortions.  Bryant said he wouldn’t ratify next year’s budget if it included money for abortion providers, according to the story.  Noted Planned Parenthood’s Vicki Ringer:

“Planned Parenthood does not receive Title X (federal) funding or any other grants through the state of South Carolina.  We do serve patients who rely on Medicaid for their insurance, and provide basic healthcare to men and women who participate in the state health insurance plan.

“Given this clear-cut information, today’s remarks and actions by Lt. Governor Bryant and Governor McMaster are simply a political stunt. While they spend taxpayers’ time and money on scoring political points, Planned Parenthood South Atlantic will continue to focus on providing the wide-range of accessible, affordable health care services that our patients, and their constituents, rely on.”

4. Oversight by Higher Ed takes a hit, opinion in The Post and Courier, June 8, 2017

“The Legislature finally approved a state budget on Tuesday, though at the expense of undercutting a vital oversight function for higher education in South Carolina. It was a costly decision, particularly for college students whose tuition and fee payments are sometimes hiked to pay for capital projects.

“To its credit, the state Senate actually balked at the House proviso to eliminate building oversight authority by the state Commission on Higher Education. But senators relented after Senate President Pro Tempore Hugh Leatherman warned them that a budget impasse could make for a ‘very long, hot summer.’”

5. Why working-class whites keep supporting Trump, Jonathan Capehart in the Washington Post, June 6, 2017

In this opinion piece, Capehart shares information from a new book by George Mason University professor Justin Gest, who argues that working-class whites keep supporting President Donald Trump because he brings up issues they care about.  In one way, putting it on the agenda is enough; actually fulfilling promises doesn’t matter as much, Gest suggests.  An excerpt from Capehart’s column:

“The sense of having a voice suddenly, after feeling voiceless for so long is powerful. It’s not in their cultural interests to vote against him, no matter how little he has delivered to actually help them in any kind of material way.”

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