A roundup of what’s making news in South Carolina state government.
It didn’t take long for former Lieutenant Governor Yancey McGill to land a new gig.
Less than a month after his short term as the state’s number two officeholder ended, The State newspaper reports McGill has landed a top executive job in his old office.
McGill is the new state director of the South Carolina Office on Aging, which is run by the lieutenant governor’s office. McGill said new Lieutenant Governor Henry McMaster asked him to take the position.
The former Williamsburg County senator was the only one to volunteer in June 2014 when then-Lt. Governor Glenn McConnell announced his resignation to become College of Charleston president. The state Constitution requires the Senate President pro tempore to resign his office and replace him. But since the upcoming election meant the new lieutenant governor could only serve six months, no senator at first seemed willing to effectively end their political career.
McGill finally stepped forward and was elected President pro tempore. He then became lieutenant governor when McConnell resigned minutes later, becoming the first Democrat to hold the office since 1995 and the first member of his party to hold any statewide office since 2011.
He will earn $122,000 in his new bureaucratic post, according to the report.
— The ridesharing app Uber will be allowed to operate in South Carolina until at least June, state regulators voted Thursday. The Public Service Commission voted unanimously in favor of the temporary license after issuing a cease-and-desist order only two weeks earlier. A taxi company challenging the license has agreed to drop its objections while state legislators work on a bill that would effectively legalize the Uber app. Taxi companies oppose Uber, saying the company has an unfair advantage because it does not follow the same regulations they do.
— U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham has taken the next step towards a possible White House run in 2016, creating an exploratory committee that will allow him to begin fundraising. The senator announced the move on Fox News Thursday morning, after hinting at a run for weeks. Graham has dubbed his new presidential exploratory committee “Security Through Strength.” South Carolina’s senior senator has been critical of the party’s Libertarian faction and fought off a field of Tea Party challengers in the 2014 primary.
— Gov. Nikki Haley issued an executive order Thursday that creates a new task force to reduce domestic violence in South Carolina. The governor said more than 40 state agencies, nonprofits, and other groups will be part of the group. The task force will have until December 31 to issue a final report. Meanwhile, legislators in the House and Senate are working on crafting their own bills that address domestic violence. South Carolina consistently has one of the nation’s highest rates of women killed by men.
— The Associated Press reports a bill endorsed by a panel of legislators on Thursday would give the State Grand Jury more power to investigate human trafficking. State Attorney General Alan Wilson has made the bill a priority, saying it would give prosecutors a better tool for trafficking cases that usually go across county lines. The measure was given unanimous support in a House subcommittee. It now goes to the full Senate Judiciary Committee.
— A pair of Republican legislators plan to file new bills next month that would allow marijuana to be grown and prescribed for certain illnesses. The pledge came after a study committee heard testimony Thursday on the legalization of medical marijuana. State Sen. Tom Davis, R-Beaufort, and State Rep. Jenny Horne, R-Summerville, said they will introduce matching bills in both the House and Senate. But some health professionals questioned if allowing patients to inhale marijuana smoke was a wise recommendation for doctors to make.