A daily review of what’s making news in South Carolina state government.
— The leader of the South Carolina Senate became its latest member to have his portrait adorn the chamber. Senate President Pro Tempore Hugh Leatherman was on hand Wednesday for a ceremony unveiling his new portrait. Artist John Siebels Walker included a Boeing plane model in the background, a Francis Marion University lapel pin and plans for the Port of Charleston deepening in Leatherman’s right hand to symbolize three projects linked with his name.
— A state House panel advanced a proposal Wednesday that would allow concealed weapons holders all other states to also carry in South Carolina. South Carolina currently recognizes concealed weapons permits (CWP) from 23 other states that have similar requirements to get a permit. However, it does not recognize other states that either do not require a background check or the same amount of training to carry. The House Constitutional Law subcommittee voted 3-2 along party lines for legislation that would recognize the 26 other states.
— South Carolina and its various subdivisions would be expected to pay much more into the state retirement system the next six years, under a bipartisan proposal recommended by a joint House-Senate study committee on Wednesday. The Joint Committee on Pension Systems Review unanimously recommended the state and its employees should contribute more to the belaguered pension system, which faces a $24 billion gap between what it has on hand and what is promised to future retirees. The recommendations will now be introduced in the House and Senate as separate bills.
— Gov. Henry McMaster insisted Wednesday he will not support an increase to South Carolina’s 17 cents per-gallon gas tax unless all other options have been exhausted — using the phrase “last resort” seven times in about 90 seconds while answering reporters’ questions. However, he did not say if he would veto or support the proposals currently making their way through the legislature.
— A bill to regulate “dog daycare” facilities in South Carolina stalled during a House subcommittee Wednesday afternoon. WCSC-TV reports the bill, drafted in response to a dog’s death from overheating at a Mount Pleasant center, was scuttled after some members of a House agriculture panel worried it could have unintended consequences for some kennel owners.
— And, speaking of Gov. McMaster, a new report from The State newspaper shows he raised $160,000 in just one day as part of his likely 2018 reelection campaign. While he reported a large haul for 24 hours, McMaster is far from the typical advantage levels that incumbents hold. All 70 donations were reported for Jan. 27, three days after he was sworn into office. Donors include former House Speaker and ex-U.S. Ambassador to Canada David Wilkins.