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Wednesday
Jan302019

S.C. Teachers Want Say in Education Reform

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina educators asked lawmakers Tuesday to allow teachers a seat at the table while discussing solutions for the state's education system.

Wearing the signature red of a nationwide educators' movement and armed with proposed solutions to fix education, teachers and administrators with the SCforEd organization flooded the halls of the General Assembly office buildings and Statehouse.

"Our main goal is to discuss our four solutions with as many legislators as possible, to express our perspective on what needs to happen to end all the years of walkouts we've seen in classrooms across the stage," said magnet school director Nicole Walker of Richland County.

They are asking legislators for a 10-percent across the board pay raise; assurance that they can make their concerns and requests known without facing retribution; and measures allowing local officials to address school and district needs and reducing the amount of standardized testing that does not align with federal mandates.

Republican House Speaker Jay Lucas introduced a bill last week to address the problems facing what many call a broken education system. It calls for a Student Bill of Rights, a school board code of ethics and provisions to raise the minimum teacher salary by 9 percent.

Organizers with the teacher-led advocacy group said they appreciate the legislators' efforts, but would present Lucas with an itemized list of their concerns.

Emily Rojas, who has her master's degree and has been teaching for six years, said she and many other teachers are on the cusp of leaving the classroom if things don't change.

"What it seems like is a lot of legislators came together and said this is what we think will fix something without seeing what is broken," Rojas said. "If our teachers are this upset and they're leaving the profession, our students are being left high and dry with unqualified teachers."

In a statement to the Associated Press, House Majority Leader Gary Simrill said education reform must be done correctly, not quickly.

"Our educators are encouraged to opine on the bill," Simrill said. "This is sweeping reform and is a process in which input is valued."

Tuesday
Jan292019

Lawmakers Consider S.C. Prison Reform

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina lawmakers heard testimony Tuesday from supporters and critics of a proposed legislation to reform South Carolina's prison system.

Members of a House judicial criminal laws subcommittee heard statements from a former inmate, family members of those incarcerated and victim advocates. The more than 200-paged comprehensive bill calls for automatic release on parole for nonviolent individuals who meet certain conditions and removes mandatory minimum sentences, just two of several proposed solutions to fixing the state corrections.

Republican Rep. Chris Murphy said the current version of the bill has been 10 years in the making and is the product of studies, focus groups and annual meetings with the sentencing reform commission.

"We're not going to vote on this today," the North Charleston lawmaker said. "The beginning product will not be the end product. That tends to happen in the General Assembly."

The legislation has already garnered bipartisan support early in this session, but Murphy said though the bill has some "good parts" fellow lawmakers will still have to iron out issues such as of reducing parole eligibility and mandatory minimums before it is ready to be voted on and debated by the body.

"This bill is one of the few bills that actually offers hope," Hearts for Inmates co-founder Erica Felder said.

Felder testified before the House subcommittee and said offering incarcerated individuals opportunities for rehabilitation and early release is not only an incentive for inmates but staff as well.

"More prison time is not the answer. Allow them to earn their way back into society," Felder said.

Lester Young also spoke before the panel about his incarceration experience. Young was sentenced to life in prison, but only spent 22 years and five months in before going on parole. Young said though perpetrators will never be able to change the nature of their crime, they still have potential to change.

"The nature of my crime did not define me then and does not define me today," he said. "While they're incarcerated they can do great things."

While supporters applaud the legislators' efforts to help with inmate reintegration, detractors said the measure ignores crime victims. Executive Director of South Carolina Crime Victims Association Network Laura Hudson said the criminal justice system belongs to every citizen of the state and victims should not be excluded in the matter.

"This bill will promote more criminal behavior," Hudson said. "Allowing the General Assembly to impose reduced sentences is perpetrating a lie, hiding the truth and makes the public believe they are safe."

However, Murphy said the bill does not remove any rights of victims under the South Carolina Constitution.

"I want as strong a bill as possible to come out of the subcommittee so that it would make it easier when we get to full judiciary," Murphy said. "We'll just have to see where we go from here."

Tuesday
Jan292019

Clemson Microscopes Help Advanced Manufacturing Industry

PENDLETON — Clemson University has expanded its microscopy capabilities available to private industry for the analysis of materials used in advanced manufacturing, health care, bio-engineering, aerospace and many other applications.

The university has installed state-of-the-art combined X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS) and Auger Electron Spectroscopy (AES) equipment at the multi-user Electron Microscopy Facility in the Advanced Materials Research Laboratory (AMRL) in Anderson County. Unique in the Southeast, the equipment allows scientists to analyze very thin surface layers of materials in ways not previously possible at Clemson.

This capability has been highly sought by Clemson researchers working on advanced materials, bio-materials, advanced manufacturing, health care, digital and information technology and environmental projects. The equipment will directly contribute to ongoing polymer, fiber and textile research; new catalyst developments; biological implants and biomedical research; geochemical research; alternative energy technology development; and all aspects of surface science-based projects at Clemson University and regional educational institutions, as well as private industry.

“The AMRL is just such a gem here that other businesses should look into,” said John Martin, new product development manager at Ulbrich Precision Flatwire, which produces extremely thin, highly engineered flat wire at its Westminster facility for use in medical devices, solar panels, batteries, satellites and numerous other products that require durability in extreme temperatures and conditions.

Many of Ulbrich’s products are thinner than a human hair and barely detectable to the human eye.  The company uses Clemson advanced microscopy equipment to analyze its materials at the nanoscale to engineer its products and to provide information to clients using Ulbrich materials in its products.

“We get instant feedback,” Martin said.

Housing such high-powered, sensitive equipment internally can be too costly, Martin said, and Clemson scientists provide the technical expertise needed to maximize the benefit of the equipment.

The company employs Clemson University students as interns; some have stayed with Ulbrich after graduating.

“It’s just a win-win for everybody,” said Martin, a Clemson alumnus. “The students get great real-world experience and are functioning as professional engineers practically when they’re finished working with us.”

Ulbrich is just one of many industrial users at the facility.

KEMET Corp. of Simpsonville has been collaborating with Clemson’s Electron Microscopy Facility for more than 15 years to develop a better under understanding of the various micro-structural effects of materials processing and chemistry. KEMET develops and manufactures capacitors used in electronics, ranging from handheld devices, medical implants, automotive and aerospace systems, and other electronics used around the world.

Javaid Qazi, KEMET senior manager of technical services, said the sophisticated material analysis capabilities from micro to nano range, along with the necessary technical expertise and confidentiality at Clemson’s facility, have been very helpful over the years.

“I am happy to see that what started purely as an electron microscopy lab has diversified over the years to add new analysis techniques,” Qazi said. “We can now do surface-depth profiling, for example, which is helpful in understanding the very thin coatings used on biomedical, automotive, aerospace and many other applications.”

The Electron Microscopy Facility features floor isolation and noise reduction to accommodate the highly sensitive equipment. Clemson faculty and private industry interested in using the facility can schedule time at the facility’s website at Clemson.edu/electronmicroscope, said Laxmikant Saraf, executive director of the facility.

“We greatly appreciate our industry collaborations because they help us maintain a world-class facility and also generate wonderful learning opportunities for our students,” Saraf said.

The facility was founded in the mid-1990s through a partnership with Hitachi High Technologies America Inc., which continues to support the Electron Microscopy Facility. The Electron Microscopy Facility, which houses some of the world’s most cutting-edge microscopes, has been hailed as a national model. Officials from Georgia Tech, Harvard University and others have visited campus to see it.

“Our long-term partnership with Clemson allows us to showcase our most advanced technology,” said Phil Bryson, Hitachi vice president and general manager. “The breadth and depth of advanced research and development being done at the facility is second to none. We’re proud to be a part of this fine institution.”

In addition to the new X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS) and Auger Electron Spectroscopy (AES) equipment, the facility is equipped with variable-pressure and high-resolution scanning electron microscopes and transmission electron microscopes, as well as a gas sorption analyzer and a double-beam microscope. A full list of the facility’s microscopes and capabilities is available online.

Tuesday
Jan292019

Sheriff's Office Seeks Help Finding Missing Man

The Anderson County Sheriff's Department is asking for the public to assist with the location of an individual reported as missing and possibly endangered.

On January 21, Earl Goss, 70, was reported missing from a boarding home on Glendale Rd. in Anderson. On the morning of January 18, Goss was taken to an appointment at a facility on McGee Rd. When his caretaker returned later that morning to pick him up, he could not be located. Goss does not have any relatives living in the Anderson area and has a history of wandering off. He requires medication for a health condition and has not taken it since the day he was last seen.

Goss may be in an altered mental state and unaware of his location. He does not have a cell phone and is likely traveling on foot. He is approximately 5 feet 6 inches tall weighing 200 pounds and was last seen wearing a blue polo shirt, gray jacket, brown pants and brown shoes. He has brown eyes and gray hair.

If you have seen Goss or know of his current location, call the Anderson County Sheriff's Office and speak to Detective Chau at (864) 222.6667 or call the non-emergency dispatch number at (864) 260-4444. 

Tuesday
Jan292019

Fruit Sold at Walmart, Aldi, Costco Recalled for Listeria

The Food and Drug Administration has posted a recall notice for fresh fruit sold by Walmart, Costco, Aldi, and other grocers over a possible listeria contamination. 

The recall includes 1,727 cartons of peaches, 1,207 cartons of nectarines, and 365 cartons of plums sold in Alabama, California, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Virginia. 

The fruit was distributed in stores including Walmart, Costco, Aldi, Fairway, Market Basket, and Hannaford. 

Listeria can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections. 

Symptoms include high fever, severe headache, stiffness, nausea, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. 

No illnesses have been reported in connection with the recall. 

The peaches and nectarines are sold as bulk produce with a PLU sticker showing Chile as the country of origin, according to the recall notice. The peaches, nectarines, and plums sold at Aldi are packaged in a 2-pound bag with the brand Rio Duero, and the nectarines sold at Costco are packaged in a 4-pound plastic clamshell with the brand Rio Duero.

Monday
Jan282019

Poll: Americans O.K. with Military, not Campaign Finance, Poverty

Jan. 28 (UPI) -- Most Americans are satisfied with the state of the U.S. military, while issues like campaign finance, poverty and healthcare have sagged, a new survey found Monday.

The Gallup poll said two years into President Donald Trump's term, 78 percent of Americans are most satisfied with the nation's preparedness and strength, while 68 percent are are satisfied with the nation's security from terrorism. 

Issues that respondents were less satisfied with include campaign finance laws (20 percent), poverty and homelessness (25 percent), race relations (30 percent) and the availability of affordable healthcare (31 percent).

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif, and other Democrats have made campaign finance and election reform a top priority for 2019.

Overall, only five issues garnered a majority of "very" or "somewhat" satisfied response -- military strength/readiness, security from terrorism, position of women in the economy and the acceptance of gays and lesbians in the nation.

From a partisan standpoint, there's a gap between Republicans and Democrats based on the responses. On gun laws, 70 percent of Republicans said they're satisfied, compared with 21 percent of Democrats -- a 49-point margin, which was the largest for any issue.

On the position minority status, Republicans said they're 70 percent satisfied while only 26 percent of Democrats answered that way. The gap is 30 points or higher on the state of the U.S. economy, the U.S. role in world affairs, energy policies and the role of women.

The survey also showed 45 percent of Democrats are satisfied with the level of immigration today, compared to 21 percent of Republicans.

 

Monday
Jan282019

Buzz Aldrin Foundation Donates Mars Map to Local School

Dr. Andy Aldrin, President of the Buzz Aldrin ShareSpace Foundation and David Atchley, Director of the Buzz Aldrin ShareSpace Foundation will be presenting a Mission to Mars Map to Palmetto Elementary School on Tuesday.

Aldrin will unveil the Giant Mars Map and discuss his father's vision of sending the first humans to Mars. Buzz Aldrin has a vision of people living on Mars. One step in achieving this dream is to inspire a generation of children to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics (STEAM). The Giant Mars Map is a tool in providing this inspiration. 

Teachers who use the Giant Mars Map become part of an international community of educators who support the promotion of STEAM, share an interest in the exploration of space, and contribute to our future in space by preparing the next generation of explorers. They also receive training, in-person or online, concerning Mars and use of the Giant Mars Map. 

Monday
Jan282019

Lost N.C. Toddler Says "Friendly Bear" Kept Him Safe

 

A three-year-old boy who survived two nights alone in the woods in freezing conditions has told police and family he was helped out by a friendly bear that was with him the whole time.

Rescuers responding to reports of a baby crying found Casey Hathaway tangled up in thorny bushes, cold and soaked but safe on Thursday night. He had gone missing on Tuesday in conditions so bad the subsequent search had to be called off.

As it turned out, help – perhaps real, perhaps imaginary but certainly useful – was at hand in those woods in North Carolina, a state that is home to plenty of black bears. Craven county sheriff Chip Hughes said Casey “did say that he had a friend in the woods that was a bear that was with him”.

The claim was reportedly repeated by the boy’s aunt Breanna Hathaway. “He said he hung out with a bear for two days,” Hathaway wrote in a Facebook post. “God sent him a friend to keep him safe. God is a good God. Miracles do happen.”

Hughes said the boy had been playing with two other children in his grandmother’s backyard in Ernul on Tuesday, but did not come inside with them.

Brutal weather conditions in the low 20s (Fahrenheit) and concerns Casey wasn’t dressed for the cold sparked a search that involved helicopters, drones, K-9 units and divers, as well as hundreds of volunteers. By Thursday the wind and rain had become so bad authorities urged volunteers to stay away.

“He’s a survivor,” said Hughes on Friday, pointing out that rescuers had to wade through waist-high water to reach the boy, who stands at 2ft 2in (66cm). Casey escaped with just a few scrapes and simply wanted some water and his mother, he said.

Associated Press contributed to this report

 

Sunday
Jan272019

U.S. Government Agencies Gear Up for Restart

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. government agencies that had largely shuttered operations for five weeks during a budget standoff said on Saturday they were moving swiftly to resume operations and compensate employees for missed paychecks. 

A visitor walks by the U.S. Capitol on day 32 of a partial government shutdown as it becomes the longest in U.S. history in Washington, U.S., January 22, 2019. REUTERS/Jim Young/File Photo

The White House held a conference call with Cabinet department financial officers late Friday to discuss the resumption of government operations, while agencies began to grapple with a backlog of management and policy issues. 

The partial government shutdown - at 35 days the longest in U.S. history - led to some 800,000 federal workers going unpaid, including 380,000 furloughed workers. 

President Donald Trump on Friday signed a measure to fund the government for three weeks as congressional negotiators try to hammer out a bill to fund the federal government through Sept. 30. Trump had demanded $5.7 billion in funding for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, but Democratic legislators refused to include the money. 

The White House Office of Management and Budget’s acting chief, Russell Vought, told agencies in a memo to reopen “in a prompt and orderly manner.” 

Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb wrote Saturday on Twitter that the agency would send back pay to staffers no later than Thursday. 

Gottlieb told employees the FDA would hold an all-hands meeting on Tuesday. “There will be impacts from this prolonged lapse in funding,” he wrote. “But this agency has always faced challenge.” 

The Coast Guard told personnel it was “working through the weekend to process your pay as quickly as possible” and said back pay should be received by Thursday. 

Federal workers are owed about $6 billion in back pay, according to a study released last week. 

It will take agencies days to dig out from weeks of unread emails and deal with other logistical issues like expired email passwords or ID badges, agency officials said. Furloughed workers were told not to read emails or answer phone calls while off duty. 

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) asked employees for “patience and attention, especially during the first 48 hours,” noting that the vast majority of employees’ laptops and smartphones have been inactive for more than a month and have not had “critical, regularly scheduled maintenance.” 

During the shutdown, some government agencies did not complete contracts for grants, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) stopped reviewing and making public new auto safety recalls, and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) stopped certifying some new aircraft and routes. 

The Smithsonian Institution said museums in Washington and the National Zoo will reopen on Tuesday. In Philadelphia, Independence National Historical Park - which includes a center that houses the Liberty Bell, a symbol of American independence - reopened on Saturday. Other sites are reopening on Sunday, including Ford’s Theatre in Washington. 

Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Jay Clayton said on Saturday in a statement that the agency is “continuing to assess how to most effectively transition to normal operations.” 

He said some SEC units, including those devoted to corporate finance, trading and markets, and investment management and the Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations, “will be publishing statements in the coming days regarding their transition plans.” 

The SEC has been unable to approve initial public offerings during the shutdown, and some analysts had suggested the issue could delay IPOs in 2019. 

Trump agrees to end partial government shutdown

It will take the Federal Register, which publishes government regulatory actions, weeks to catch up with the backlog of documents, which will delay the start of public comments on some proposals. 

The shutdown is also likely to delay the rollout of Trump’s 2020 budget proposal and congressional hearings on the budget. It is not clear when Trump will deliver his State of the Union Address, but one administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said on Saturday it is not likely to be until February. 

Friday
Jan252019

S.C. House Speaker Offers Plan to Improve Schools

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina House Speaker Jay Lucas shared his plan Thursday for improving the state's schools, a massive, thorough bill that came after dozens of conversations with the governor, lawmakers, business leaders and educators.

The proposal includes a wide range of ideas anchored to a student bill of rights that includes promises of safety, financial stability for schools, teachers who are highly qualified and school choice.

The proposal also includes a 10 percent raise for teachers over two years, required consolidation of small and poorly performing school districts, free college tuition for the children of teachers in the worst-performing schools and the creation of a committee to ensure education goals in the state are unified from pre-kindergarten through college and align with what business leaders want.

It also promised to fix the state's 2014 Read to Succeed program, which was designed to ensure students did not advance past the third grade if they couldn't read. Instead, the program has seen reading test scores in the state drop because the law was full of exemptions that have frustrated teachers.

Lucas' bill received wide praise from fellow Republican and Democratic lawmakers, from the private sector and from education officials. "I didn't have to seek them out. They came to me," the Hartsville Republican said with a smile.

But everyone also said they needed time to digest the 26,200-word proposal — just a few hundred words shorter than Ernest Hemingway's classic "The Old Man and the Sea."

In an interview Thursday, Lucas said this proposal in no way is a final offer and he was setting "a template for others to come behind and make a better bill."

Like a bill increasing road funding that final passed in 2017 after years of debate, the spur to action has been the business community. Lucas said the poor state of South Carolina's education system is leaving jobs unfilled that require increasing mental dexterity and knowledge of advanced mathematics that many schools in the state can't provide.

Lucas plans to have several public hearings and other ways to get input from anyone concerned. He understands it is likely implausible to solve everything in a year. The speaker's proposal doesn't touch the formula for school funding, a confusing set of laws and instructions passed over four-decades.

Lucas joined Senate President Harvey Peeler and Gov. Henry McMaster in asking state economists to review the formula and issue a report in the spring.

Thursday
Jan242019

AU to Debut New Personalized License Plate Friday

The South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles will debut a new Anderson University license plate that allows state residents to support student scholarships and campus enhancements while showing their pride in Anderson University Friday in front of the Merritt Building on the AU campus.

The 11 a.m. event will feature Anderson University President Evans P. Whitaker placing the first AU plate on his vehicle.

Thursday
Jan242019

Winthrop Poll: Deep Racial Divides Still Exist in S.C.

New data released from December’s Winthrop Poll Southern Focus Survey of 11 southern states show that while attitudes of white and African-American Southerners on racial issues show some congruence, deep divides still exist.

What the poll uncovers is that whites and blacks have very different experiences living in the South. More than half of African Americans in the region report that they have been discriminated against in the last year because of their race or ethnicity, while 18% of whites report such discrimination. 

Nearly identical numbers of whites and blacks in the South, 30% and 28% respectively, feel that America should preserve its “white European heritage.”

“We’re not sure what resulted in this common outlook; it could be something as simple as the realization that we sprung from the colonies of a European power," said poll director, Professor Scott Huffmon. "We do know, however, that the phrase “white European heritage” clearly held distinct meaning for some. Nearly half of those who viewed the Confederate Flag favorably agreed with the preservation of white European heritage.”

In two examples of changing attitudes, black and white Southerners generally agreed that people of different races should be allowed to live wherever they please and marry whomever they please, as well as believe that all races should be treated equally.

Differences arose when asking whether whites or racial minorities were “under attack in this country.” Thirty-eight percent of whites and 11 percent of blacks agreed that whites were under attack while 51 percent of whites and 89 percent of blacks agreed that racial minorities were under attack. Among respondents who view the Confederate Flag favorably, 48 percent agreed that whites are under attack while 42 percent reported the same for racial minorities.

“Confederate Flag supporters in the South are notably more likely than others to view whites as the victims in today’s political environment," said Huffmon.

African Americans and whites in the South are nearly mirror images of each other when asked what holds blacks back in today’s society. Over half of African American respondents said that racial discrimination is the main reason blacks can’t get ahead, while over half of whites said that African Americans are responsible for their own condition. Once Again, Confederate Flag supporters showed a stronger trend, with 16 percent blaming racial discrimination and 72 percent saying black people who can’t get ahead are responsible for their own condition.

Also released for the first time are the results of a survey based experiment. Half of the respondents were asked whether they believed that whites in America have “privileges” that non-whites do not have, while the other half were asked if they believed that non-whites in America experience “barriers.”

Among those who heard the “privilege” version, 92 percent of blacks, 50 percent of whites, and only 36 percent of Confederate Flag supporters believed whites have privilege. However, among those asked about non-whites facing “barriers,” those agreeing among whites and Confederate Flag supporters increased by about 20 points over the “privilege” wording while slightly fewer African Americans agreed.

“This is a classic ‘framing effect.’ Whether differences are attributed to one group having ‘privilege’ or the other group facing ‘barriers,’ the end result is the same; however, by changing the way we talk about a situation, we see that attitudes can shift," Huffmon said. "Market researchers have known this for decades. People may recall decades ago the upcharge for paying with a credit card at a gas station came to be called a ‘cash discount’ and suddenly people were much more accepting. Same result, different frame.”

The Southern respondents contacted for this poll reside in: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. The sample size does not allow for breakdowns by individual states.

Wednesday
Jan232019

McMaster Vows to Boost Education, Give Tax Rebates

COLUMBIA — Gov. Henry McMaster's vision for South Carolina laid out Wednesday in the State of the State address was the continuation of his themes of education reform, tax relief and environmental protection he has been preaching since starting his first full term earlier this month.

His formal address before state lawmakers had few new developments.

It was the third big audience McMaster had this month after his inauguration two weeks ago and the release of how he would like to spend the state's $9 billion budget last week.

But if the inauguration speech was lofty and the budget was wonky, the State of the State speech was a chance to plainly fill in details of his plan to a statewide audience.

It was his second State of the State address after taking over as governor when Nikki Haley was named U.N. Ambassador in 2017.

McMaster won his own full term in November.

McMaster again promised to fight for a 5 percent raise for teachers worth $155 million, a small increase in across-the-board funding and a $100 million fund to bring business to the most-disadvantaged school systems that he said will then in turn improve those schools with higher incomes for families and community investment.

"We are building an international reputation for business growth and progress. Being perceived as weak in any part of our state in education is not good. But being perceived as not committed to fixing it is disastrous," McMaster said.

The governor didn't give details on changing the formula for schools, consolidating school districts, eliminating excessive testing and social promotion or other issues. But he said he trusted the eventual work of his Republican colleagues House Speaker Jay Lucas and Senate Education Chairman Greg Hembree.

"I support the Speaker and the Senator 100 percent. Send me these reforms, and I will sign them into law," McMaster said.

The governor again called for lawmakers to back giving $200 million back to taxpayers in a one-time rebate that would amount to an average check of about $87.

McMaster said just because government collects it doesn't mean it has to spend it, and the state must be careful to keep its economic growth going. Unemployment is well below the national average, and the state recently topped the 5 million mark in population several years before projections.

He also made a brief mention of his proposal to cut state income taxes by $2.2 billion. He proposed a similar plan over five years in his 2018 speech. Legislators are considering comprehensive tax reform that could take several years to develop.

"It has taken years to get to where we are. But we must do more," McMaster said. "That means we must keep taxes low, reduce burdensome regulations and invest heavily in infrastructure."

McMaster again touted his South Carolina Floodwater Commission, in which dozens of experts will come together to combat flooding from coastal sea rise to nuisance flooding from poor drainage to the damaging floods like those over three of the past four years.

He also took a sharp stance against his longtime ally President Donald Trump on oil exploration in the Atlantic Ocean.

"We must stand firmly against all efforts to endanger the future of our pristine coastline, our beaches, our sea islands, our marshes and our watersheds. Ladies and gentlemen, that means we will not have offshore testing or drilling off the coast of South Carolina," McMaster said.