A daily review of what’s making news in South Carolina state government.
— Clemson University football coach Dabo Swinney had the rare honor of addressing a joint session of both the House and Senate on Tuesday. The distinct honor was granted because of the school’s national championship in football last month. During his time at the dais, Swinney talked up the culture at Clemson and said the sport could be a positive influence on students and a way to bring the state together.
— Both public employees and state agencies would have to pay more towards the state retirement system under a bill approved in the South Carolina House on Tuesday, although the increase for state employees will be much smaller. Legislators in the House voted 99-14 to shore up the struggling pension fund, which has an estimated $25 billion gap between what is promised to future retirees and what it has on-hand. The measure will head to the Senate after another procedural vote on Wednesday. Senators are debating a similar bill.
— A House oversight panel is asking for South Carolina’s public safety department to consider random drug testing its Highway Patrol troopers. According to The State newspaper, some legislators questioned why the agency has a random testing policy that it does not actually enforce. Agency director Leroy Smith responded the agency does drug test when it has a “reasonable suspicion” of the trooper’s drug use. Highway Patrol Commander Col. Michael Oliver said the agency used to do random drug test, but stopped out of concerns about effectiveness and cost. Members of the House Legislative Oversight Committee suggested Oliver explore the costs of reinstating random tests and make the necessary budget request.
— A second former South Carolina governor could soon be working at the United Nations. UN Ambassador Nikki Haley on Tuesday nominated her predecessor in the Governor’s Office, ex-governor David Beasley, to lead a major UN agency. The Charleston Post and Courier reports that Haley this week sent a letter to the U.N. Secretary General’s Office that nominates David Beasley to lead the World Food Programme (WFP). Beasley was elected governor in 1994 and served one term. The Darlington County Republican has since co-founded an international missionary aid firm.