Gov. Henry McMaster Announces Launch of Education Funding Dashboard
COLUMBIA, S.C. – Governor Henry McMaster was joined by the S.C. Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office (RFA) and South Carolina Department of Education Superintendent Ellen Weaver to announce the launch of RFA's new Education Funding Dashboard. This dashboard will provide an additional layer of transparency and accountability to the state's school districts by allowing parents and taxpayers to easily see how each school district spends taxpayer dollars.
"The unveiling of this dashboard is an essential step in providing increased transparency and accountability into how our school districts choose to spend taxpayer dollars," said Governor Henry McMaster. "I have repeatedly said that a lack of transparency will cause the public and our communities to lose confidence in our local school boards and schools. This dashboard will provide the public with increased confidence in how our state's school districts operate."
The dashboard follows Governor McMaster's 2022 education funding reform that simplified funding by consolidating several separate funding streams and ensured that state dollars follow the child and do not go to excessive administrative or overhead costs. The governor's education funding reform included a requirement for the creation of this dashboard through proviso 1.3 of the annual general appropriation act.
“This is about transparency, and I have said for a long time that the way that we build trust in public education is through transparency," said South Carolina Department of Education Superintendent Ellen Weaver. "I want to thank the RFA, the general assembly, and the governor for their support of this incredible vision that I truly believe is going to help us move our education system in South Carolina forward."
The dashboard allows users to analyze and compare school districts by revenues, expenditures, academic performance, and other key measures presented in five different sections. Below is a brief description of each of the five sections:
All data used in the dashboard are provided by the local school districts to the South Carolina Department of Education.
This is the dashboard here.
Governor Henry McMaster Holds Ceremonial Bill Signing for S. 569, State Alzheimer's Plan
COLUMBIA, S.C. – Governor Henry McMaster was joined by the South Carolina Alzheimer's Association, state agency leaders, and members of the General Assembly for a ceremonial bill signing of S. 569, which requires the advisory council for the Department on Aging's Alzheimer's Resource Coordination Center to maintain and update a comprehensive statewide plan to address Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.
"As many of us know all too well, Alzheimer's is a cruel and fatal disease, impacting over a hundred thousand South Carolina families each year," said Governor Henry McMaster. "With this signing, we create a unified, long-term approach to combating Alzheimer's, allowing our state to maximize its resources, and signal to all families battling this disease that South Carolina is committed to improving care and treatment until we find a cure."
The advisory council must gather input from the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), and the Department of Social Services (DSS) to ensure the plan meets the needs of the state.
"South Carolina has many, many challenges as we face a dementia crisis that plagues our state. From a lack of geriatricians and neurologists to scarce resources for patients and families, we have unfortunately fallen behind for far too long," said South Carolina Senator Katrina Shealy. “Through this newly codified state plan, we will be able to identify the resources we need, where we need them, and the best way to obtain them so that South Carolina no longer lags behind our neighbors but can become a leader in this field.”
South Carolina's latest Statewide Plan to Address Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementias was released in February of 2023. Before this year the plan was last updated in 2009.
The council must submit an annual report to the Governor and the General Assembly by September 30, concerning the plan's progress and must update the plan in 2028 and every five years thereafter.
"Today, South Carolina takes the first step to make sustainable change for families facing dementia,” said Taylor Wilson, Chair of the Alzheimer's Resource Coordination Center Advisory Council. "This bill ensures that progress will be shared annually with the legislature and also ensures that we do not give up at the end of five years, it certifies we will come back to the table to plan and implement lifelines to caregivers across this state with strategic purpose and vision."
The bill passed the House 110-0 and passed the Senate 43-0.
Governor Henry McMaster Provides Update on Workforce Scholarships for the Future
Workforce Scholarships Have Trained Over 32,000 South Carolinians for High Demand Careers
COLUMBIA, S.C. – Governor Henry McMaster and the South Carolina Technical College System announced that 32,426 South Carolinians have earned an industry credential through Governor McMaster's Workforce Scholarships for the Future program. The program provides scholarships to cover the cost of tuition and required fees at any of South Carolina's 16 technical colleges for any adult or recent high school graduate to pursue an industry credential or associate degree in high-demand career fields like manufacturing, healthcare, information technology, education, or logistics.
"As South Carolina continues to attract major investments and tens of thousands of new jobs, developing our workforce is more important than ever," said Governor Henry McMaster. "Workforce Scholarships for the Future provide our people with the opportunity to learn the skills needed to take on these available, high-paying jobs and show current employers that South Carolina's workforce is ready to adapt to their needs. These scholarships are still available, so spread the word that there are good-paying jobs out there, and if you do the work, South Carolina will train you for them."
In early 2021, Governor McMaster invested $12 million in Governors Emergency Education Relief Funds (GEER Funds) in the S.C. Technical College System to train South Carolinians for available, high-demand jobs in the state. By the end of the year, the program reskilled and employed 5,000 South Carolinians. Due to the program's success, Governor McMaster formally created Workforce Scholarships for the Future in November 2021. In July 2022, Governor McMaster announced an additional $25 million investment into the program.
"Our 16 colleges are committed to making higher education affordable and accessible for the citizens of South Carolina. This scholarship opens doors for South Carolinians, helping them get the training and education they need to work in high-demand fields across our state," said Dr. Tim Hardee, President of the S.C. Technical College System. "Together, we are working to build a ready, skilled workforce."
In total, Governor McMaster has awarded $55.6 million in GEER Funds to the S.C. Technical College System for Workforce Scholarships for the Future. As of July 31, 2023, $44.3 million has been expended at an average cost of $1,367 per student.
“We have more people working in South Carolina today than ever before, and Governor McMaster is making sure that South Carolinians have every opportunity to be part of our thriving economy and workforce,” said S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce Executive Director William Floyd.
Scholarship recipients are required to maintain a 2.0 grade point average and complete one of the following requirements:
The General Assembly provided $93.7 million in the 2023-2024 state budget to continue this initiative through the South Carolina Workforce Industry Needs Scholarship program.
For more information on Workforce Scholarships for the Future, click here.
September is Workforce Development Month in South Carolina.
Governor Henry McMaster Scores Major Victories for Religious Liberty
South Carolina Wins Two Federal Court Fights to Maintain Partnerships with Faith-Based Foster Care Ministries
COLUMBIA, S.C. – In two separate cases, the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina upheld South Carolina's right to continue to partner with faith-based foster care ministries in Rogers v. Health and Human Services and Maddonna v. Health and Human Services. In both cases, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Americans United for the Separation of Church and State sued Governor Henry McMaster to try to stop the state from working with religious foster agencies. On Friday, a federal court shut down these attempts to shutter faith-based foster care, rejecting challenges to South Carolina's efforts to protect children in foster care and the families who serve them. These decisions will make it easier for all foster families in South Carolina to find an agency that meets their unique needs and for more foster children to find loving homes.
"These two rulings from the U.S. District Court represent significant wins for religious liberty and South Carolina's faith-based organizations like Miracle Hill, which will be able to continue their crucial mission of connecting children in foster care with loving homes," said Governor Henry McMaster. "These victories will directly benefit countless children by further ensuring that faith-based organizations will not be forced to abandon their beliefs to help provide critical services to our state's youth."
South Carolina works directly with families seeking to foster and adopt children in crisis situations, serving children and families from all backgrounds. The state also partners with an array of private agencies that help find and support more families for foster children who need a safe place to live. In 2018, Governor McMaster issued an Executive Order protecting the religious freedom of foster agencies in South Carolina. The ACLU then recruited individuals to sue South Carolina over the inclusion of a single faith-based agency, Miracle Hill. Rather than reach out to any other organization or to the South Carolina Department of Social Services, the plaintiffs went straight to federal court.
In its two opinions, the federal court protected the state’s freedom to partner with faith-based agencies who serve children in need, pointing out that those who sued the state “could [have] foster[ed] the same children at any of twenty-six other private agencies in the State, including eighteen in the Upstate or with the State itself.” The Supreme Court recently ruled unanimously in Fulton v. Philadelphia that the U.S. Constitution protected Catholic Social Services’ right to stay faithful to its religious beliefs while still serving foster children in Philadelphia. The federal court in this case relied on Fulton to stop similar attempts to shut down faith-based foster care ministries.
“This is a major victory for the children in South Carolina’s foster care system who were at risk of losing out on loving homes,” said Lori Windham, vice president and senior counsel at Becket. “The attempt to shutter faith-based foster care agencies and decrease the number of foster homes for these kids violated the law and common sense. We are glad that South Carolina stood up for foster children and faith-based agencies and that the court protected them.”
Governor McMaster was represented in the two cases by Thomas Limehouse, Grayson Lambert, and Erica Shedd with the Office of the Governor, along with Miles Coleman of Nelson Mullins and attorneys with Becket.
Gov.Henry McMaster and Lieutenant Governor Pamela S. Evette were joined by state agency leaders, members of the General Assembly, and others for a ceremonial bill signing of S. 164, Certificate of Need Repeal, which eliminates the requirement for most healthcare facilities to obtain a Certificate of Need (CON) from the Department of Health and Environmental Control before building a new facility, purchasing certain medical equipment or providing additional medical services.
“South Carolinians will have greater access to affordable healthcare services with the repeal of the Certificate of Need laws,” said Governor McMaster. “Everyone benefits when the proven power of the free market is unleashed in our state.”
In May of 2022, Governor McMaster wrote a letter to the General Assembly calling for the repeal of CON. “For the state of South Carolina to have had a Certificate of Need program that creates many monopolies throughout this state was wrong, and it needed to be fixed,” said South Carolina Senator Harvey Peeler. “I’m proud of this law and proud of the work our Senators, House members, and the governor have done, and it’s another example of the governor’s motto, ‘South Carolina is open for business.’”
A CON will continue to be needed for new hospital construction or the expansion of hospital beds until January 1, 2027, with exemptions for the relocation of a hospital in the same county, construction of a new hospital of up to 50 beds in a county currently without a hospital, or the merger or acquisition of a hospital.
Nursing home facilities and home health agencies will continue to be required to obtain a CON.
“This is a tremendous day for patients all across South Carolina,” said South Carolina Senator Wes Climer. “As a consequence of repealing Certificate of Need, patients will have more choices, will have lower costs, and the people assembled here today worked together to do that not by spending more money, not by creating new programs but by getting government out of the way to unleash the private sector to invest and compete.”
The bill also creates the Certificate of Need Study Committee tasked with providing a report to the General Assembly that includes recommendations to improve rural healthcare access and to address any trends associated with the decrease in the quality and quantity of access to healthcare in rural areas.
“This new law protects the citizens of South Carolina by providing more timely, more accessible, and more affordable healthcare,” said South Carolina Representative Sylleste Davis.”However, we still have work to do. Through the course of our discussions, it became evident that we need to examine the healthcare model in our rural areas and explore new and better ways to make cost-effective healthcare available to South Carolinians. Today is a massive step in the right direction, but our best work is yet to come.”
The Medical University of South Carolina must submit details of proposed acquisitions of new hospital facilities to the Joint Bond Review Committee, receive approval from the Fiscal Accountability Authority, and apply for a Certificate of Need.
Governor Henry McMaster Directs Solicitors to Seek Attorney General’s Approval Before Reducing Criminal Sentences
Transparency and Accountability Key to Restoring Public Confidence in Criminal Justice System
COLUMBIA, S.C. – In an effort to restore the public’s confidence in our state’s criminal justice system through increased transparency and accountability, Governor Henry McMaster wrote a letter to South Carolina's State Circuit Solicitors directing them to provide at least ten days' notice to the attorney general before filing any future motions to reduce a criminal sentence. Additionally, the governor is requesting Attorney General Alan Wilson review any such early release motions to ensure compliance with state law.
The governor's directive follows the early release of convicted murderer Jeroid Price and the identification of 26 other similar, or potentially similar, early release cases by the South Carolina Department of Corrections (SCDC).
"While I will continue to advocate for tougher criminal laws and penalties and urge the General Assembly to take prompt action, unfortunately, recent events have revealed that it is not sufficient simply to arrest, convict, and incarcerate criminals, but we must also ensure that they stay in prison," Governor McMaster wrote in his letter.
In April, Governor McMaster requested that SCDC Director Bryan Stirling review SCDC's records and attempt to identify any early release scenarios similar, or potentially similar, to Price's case. Director Stirling identified a list of 26 other cases from January 1, 2022, through April 24, 2023, and provided the corresponding court orders to Governor McMaster, Attorney General Wilson, and South Carolina Law Enforcement Division Chief Mark Keel.
"In light of our recent experience with the Jeroid Price matter, it is imperative that the State review any previous (and potentially similar) early release orders to confirm compliance with the applicable law, and I appreciate Attorney General Wilson’s ongoing assistance in doing so. However, after-the-fact awareness of these incidents alone is not sufficient," Governor McMaster continued.
Price was released from prison on March 15 after serving 19 years of his 35-year sentence for the 2002 murder of Carl Smalls Jr. The S.C. Supreme Court vacated the order reducing Price's sentence on April 26, and law enforcement captured Price on July 17.
INDUSTRIES IN THE UPSTATE:
Keurig Dr Pepper continues growth in Spartanburg County
$100 million investment will create an estimated 250 new jobs by 2027
COLUMBIA, S.C. – Governor Henry McMaster and the South Carolina Department of Commerce (S.C. Commerce) announced that Keurig Dr Pepper (KDP), a leading producer of hot and cold beverages, will continue the development of its state-of-the-art coffee roasting and manufacturing facility in Spartanburg County. The company plans to invest $100 million and create an estimated 250 new jobs by 2027, in addition to the $380 million previously invested and 155 jobs currently at this location.
This project is an extension of a tiered, phased build of the facility which broke ground in 2019. While the COVID-19 pandemic altered the project timeline, KDP has continually upgraded and invested in its production, warehousing and distribution capabilities since that time.
KDP’s beverage portfolio consists of 125 iconic brands including carbonated and non-carbonated beverages such as Dr Pepper, Canada Dry, Snapple, Mott’s and CORE, as well as the Keurig brewing system, with leading owned brands Green Mountain Coffee Roasters and The Original Donut Shop. The company’s Spartanburg County location is exclusively focused on coffee roasting and packaging for K-Cup pods for use in Keurig brewers. The facility is one of the largest LEED certified manufacturing facilities in the world.
The further development of the facility, located at 6135 Anderson Mill Road in Moore, is expected to be complete in 2027. Jobs will be related to KDP’s manufacturing and distribution operations. Individuals interested in employment opportunities should visit KDP’s career center.
The Coordinating Council for Economic Development approved job development credits related to this project. The council also awarded a $1 million Set-Aside grant to Spartanburg County to assist with the costs of building improvements.
“Our facility in South Carolina remains an important asset in the ongoing evolution of our next-generation coffee production capabilities. Keurig Dr Pepper is proud to continue to grow in the welcoming and talent-rich community of Moore. We greatly appreciate the support we have received from the State of South Carolina in helping to facilitate our ongoing investment and hiring needs.” -Keurig Dr Pepper Chief Supply Chain Officer Roger Johnson
“Keurig Dr Pepper’s expansion of its Spartanburg County facility exemplifies how South Carolina’s strong economic climate supports continued development. Our state is grateful to be home to one of Keurig Dr Pepper’s six U.S. coffee roasting facilities and for the 250 additional jobs this project provides.” -Gov. Henry McMaster
“Keurig Dr Pepper is known for some of the most iconic beverage brands. By investing in technology at its Spartanburg County operation, the company can continue to offer the quality beverages its customers have come to expect while also creating opportunities throughout South Carolina.” -Secretary of Commerce Harry M. Lightsey III
“Since coming to Spartanburg County, Keurig Dr Pepper has been a fantastic partner, and has only enhanced our county’s status as a place where leading companies can come, succeed and grow. As Chairman of the Economic Development Committee, we are grateful for Keurig Dr Pepper’s decision to come here, and we are very proud of their success. Their future is bright.” -Spartanburg County Council Vice Chairman and Economic Development Committee Chairman David Britt
Mojave Energy Systems establishes South Carolina operations in Anderson County
$4 million investment will create 200 new jobs
COLUMBIA, S.C. – Governor Henry McMaster and the South Carolina Department of Commerce (S.C. Commerce) announced that Mojave Energy Systems (Mojave), a clean technology (cleantech) start-up company that designs and manufacturers next-generation commercial air conditioning systems, is establishing its first manufacturing facility in Anderson County. Mojave’s $4 million investment will create 200 new jobs.
Using patented technology, Mojave aims to revolutionize the commercial air conditioning industry while keeping costs competitive. Its climate friendly products reduce negative environmental impacts including lower carbon dioxide emissions. Mojave’s products also deliver significant energy improvements, using less electricity and refrigerant to cool and dehumidify the air.
With target markets in the Southeastern United States and Texas, Mojave looked for a location where it could reach customers in one day or less. Easy highway access and proximity to the Greer Inland Port made Anderson County a prime choice for the company’s manufacturing facility. The company will lease approximately 25,000 square feet of space located at 1428 Pearman Dairy Road in Anderson.
Operations will begin in late November 2023. Individuals interested in joining the Mojave team should visit the company’s careers page.
The Coordinating Council for Economic Development approved job development credits related to the project.
“Cleantech is a growing manufacturing opportunity for our country, and Mojave is in a unique position to create U.S. jobs while significantly lowering its customers’ energy expenses and climate impact. We appreciate the support of the Department of Energy, the state of South Carolina and Anderson County to help us bring this important technology to market." -Mojave Energy Systems CEO Phil Farese
“We are pleased to welcome Mojave Energy Systems to South Carolina. Their investment will contribute greatly to our state’s economy and provide new opportunities for our people, all while helping consumers use less energy.” -Gov. Henry McMaster
“Our vision at S.C. Commerce is to embrace the future to ensure South Carolina’s sustainable advantage, and we welcome Mojave Energy Systems to Anderson County. We are excited to see the forward-thinking air conditioning products that the company will bring to our state.” -Secretary of Commerce Harry M. Lightsey III
“Yet again, our investment in the economic development incubator space at 1428 Pearman Dairy Road is yielding dividends. This project is providing technical, high skill jobs that will elevate the lives of our citizens, and I’m glad to see it happen.” -Anderson County Council Chairman Tommy Dunn