A daily review of what’s making news in South Carolina state government.
— Gov. Henry McMaster is asking the federal government for $5 billion to help repair South Carolina’s crumbling roads and bridges. As one of his first efforts since taking over the Governor’s Office last month, McMaster sent a letter to President Donald Trump asking that he consider South Carolina when he releases his infrastructure plan. he letter also seeks the federal government’s $180 million share of the Charleston Harbor deepening. McMaster was the first elected official from any state to endorse Trump during his bid for the GOP nomination.
— The letter came a day before a state House budget committee will consider whether to raise South Carolina’s 17-cents per-gallon gasoline tax to pay for some of those repairs. According to The State newspaper, the Ways and Means Committee on Tuesday will also decide whether or not to raise other vehicle fees. The proposed 10-cents-a-gallon increase would be phased-in over five years by two cents a year.
— The House’s number two officer announced Monday he will run for Congress this spring if current U.S. Rep. Mick Mulvaney takes a position in the Trump Administration. Speaker Pro Tempore Tommy Pope, R-York, is the fifth Republican to announce a prospective run for the seat, which will come open if the Senate confirms Mulvaney to be the director of the White House Office of Management and Budget. Pope has represented western York County since 2011, but said many constituents urged him to run for a seat in Washington.
— Some House members are trying to create a state-sanctioned vaccine program against the virus better known as shingles. The Charleston Post and Courier reports State Rep. Bill Herbkersman, R-Bluffton, will present a joint resolution to the Health and Environmental Affairs subcommittee Wednesday calling for a group to be formed to study the virus and its effects on South Carolinians. The resolution mentions the possibility of a “shingles vaccination program” to be administered by the Department of Health and Environmental Control.