News briefs

NEWS: Loss of federal program imperils state’s record-low teen pregnancy rate

NEWS: Loss of federal program imperils state’s record-low teen pregnancy rate

By Lindsay Street, Statehouse correspondent  |  With the good news of the state’s lowest teenage pregnancy rate in recent history, there is a little bad news: the federal program that awarded South Carolina $6.53 million to prevent teen pregnancies will come to an end June 30, 2018, according to a S.C. nonprofit focused on preventing teenage pregnancy. The Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program in the Office of Adolescent Health in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has been doling out funds for the last three years.

Statehouse Report originally reported on the proposed cut to the program in July, and the cut was made official in the federal budget a few weeks later. Already, some teen prevention programs around the nation are looking at scaling back efforts or closing altogether, according to multiple media reports.

by · 10/18/2017 · News, News briefs
UPDATE:  S.C. agency says funding will continue for children’s insurance program

UPDATE:  S.C. agency says funding will continue for children’s insurance program

By Lindsay Street, Statehouse correspondent  |  Congress has missed the deadline to continue funding of the  federal program that insures millions of children nationwide and tens of thousands in South Carolina.

Following the Friday publication of this story, the state agency that heads the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)  said Friday the state of South Carolina would continue to fund the multi-million dollar program if federal funds dry up.   Last week, the S.C. Department of Health and Human Services was slow to respond to several questions about the CHIP program and missed a  deadline for Friday’s article.

In South Carolina, CHIP extends Medicaid-like coverage to children whose families earn more than 100 percent of the poverty level and up to 208 percent of the poverty level. There are an estimated 77,000 children receiving this no-cost insurance. The federal government allocated $154.2 million in 2017 for the program with no matching state dollars.

by · 10/10/2017 · News, News briefs
Photo:  Milkin Family Foundation

NEWS: Trump picks Zais for post; Silent Witness ceremony honors victims

Former S.C. schools chief Mick Zais appears to be headed back into public service nearly three years after leaving the state post. On Wednesday, the White House announced President Donald Trump intended to nominate Zais to be deputy U.S. Secretary of Education.

The deputy position, vacant since Jan. 20,  is a presidential appointment that requires Senate confirmation.

Also in this news brief is a stark reminder of the state’s high level of domestic violence as a Statehouse ceremony was held for 39 who died in 2016 from domestic violence.

by · 10/04/2017 · News, News briefs
NEWS BRIEFS:  New local government committee; S.C. has low excise taxes

NEWS BRIEFS:  New local government committee; S.C. has low excise taxes

A special ad hoc House committee has convened to study how the state funds local governments.

Earlier this month, Statehouse Report broke news that S.C. House Ways and Means Chairman Brian White, R-Anderson, wanted about why lawmakers want to look at how the state doles out money to counties and municipalities.

Also: A new report from the Tax Foundation shows South Carolina had the third lowest average for excise taxes – those special taxes and sales taxes on booze, smokes, gas, amusements, insurance,  utilities and more.  In other words, taxes on things a lot of people relate to fun.

by · 09/28/2017 · News, News briefs
NEWS BRIEFS: Looking for more teachers; Dems for governor?

NEWS BRIEFS: Looking for more teachers; Dems for governor?

Educators urge state action on teacher shortage

The numbers are stark: nearly 6,500 teachers do not return to their positions annually, while South Carolina education programs graduate 1,700 annually. On top of that, enrollment in S.C. teacher training programs is declining on average by 4 percent per year. …

Also inside:

Dems starting to queue up for governor?

It’s pretty much an open secret that state Rep. James Smith, D-Richland, will be a Democratic candidate for governor vying to challenge whoever wins the GOP nomination in a crowded field. …

by · 09/21/2017 · 2018, News, News briefs
Gov. Henry McMaster, center, presides at an emergency management press conference.

NEWS BRIEFS: On governmental redundancy; VW settlement monies

Staff reports  |  Hurricane briefings by Gov. Henry McMaster featured a slight difference in language that you might have picked up on.

McMaster’s predecessor, Nikki Haley, called for an evacuation of coastal areas around Beaufort and Charleston in October 2016 when Hurricane Matthew was on the way.  The word “mandatory” was not part of the lingo.  In fact when later questioned about whether the evacuation was mandatory or voluntary, she said, “An evacuation is an evacuation.”

The definition of “evacuation” is “the removal of persons or things from an endangered area.” 

Also in News Briefs: Learn about money from a settlement with Volkswagen.

by · 09/14/2017 · News, News briefs
NEWS:  Governor may issue evacuation order Saturday morning

NEWS:  Governor may issue evacuation order Saturday morning

Staff reports  |  Gov. Henry McMaster today said he may issue an evacuation order Saturday for coastal areas to steer people away from Hurricane Irma, which may bring destructive winds and storm surges Monday that cause major damage to the Palmetto State.

“If you can leave now, go ahead,” the governor said during a news conference televised on SCETV. 

Officials said residents should start feeling the hurricane’s wrath on Sunday night.  If it moves into the state on Monday, the Midlands may get hurricane-force wind gusts and the Upstate may experience tropical storm-force wind gusts.

by · 09/07/2017 · News, News briefs
BRIEFS:  Merrill resigns seat; Leatherman seeks special session

BRIEFS:  Merrill resigns seat; Leatherman seeks special session

Suspended GOP S.C. Rep. Jim Merrill of Daniel Island resigned from his legislative seat late Thursday before a Friday hearing related to a string of corruption charges he faces, according to published reports. …

Also: S.C. Sen. Pro Tem Hugh Leatherman threw down a gauntlet this week and called on his colleagues to avert “horror of horrors” by releasing state money to replace hundreds of aging school buses prone to catching on fire.

by · 09/01/2017 · News, News briefs, Politics