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VIDEO: McMaster 2023 State of State address

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC) - Gov. Henry McMaster reiterated some calls he’s been making to the General Assembly recently, including raising teacher starting pay, accelerating road and bridge fixes, and shoring up state reserve funds, during Wednesday’s State of the State Address.

McMaster delivered the speech from the South Carolina House Chamber at the State House.

“The people of the great state of South Carolina have given me the honor and privilege of serving as your governor for another four years,” McMaster said. “My pledge to all is that we will not squander this opportunity; we will continue to act boldly, think big and continue building on our successes.”

He also unveiled new proposals including a major restructuring of how South Carolina selects its judges.

“South Carolina is one of two states in which the General Assembly selects the members of the judiciary,” he said. “It appears that the public’s confidence in this arrangement is waning.”

Speaking to members of the General Assembly, McMaster says South Carolina should look to how the federal government picks judges.

“Gubernatorial appointment of all judges, with the advice and consent of the state Senate, requires no ‘re-invention of the wheel,’ will inspire the confidence of our people, and will encourage more excellent attorneys to seek public service,” he said.

The governor’s proposal comes less than three weeks after the state Supreme Court struck down South Carolina’s six-week ban on abortion.

Republican lawmakers and McMaster have decried it as the wrong decision.

“Therefore, I will be filing a petition for rehearing next week, along with other state officials, and I remain optimistic that we will prevail in our historic fight to protect and defend the right to, and the sanctity of, life,” McMaster said to a standing ovation.

In the Democratic response, Williamsburg County Sen. Ronnie Sabb said state leaders should let *voters decide South Carolina’s limits on abortion.”

He encouraged them to invest more in public education, vote down school voucher legislation, and pass a hates crimes bill.

“So let us march on until victory is won. Victory for every South Carolinian is simply to have a fair shot at success,” Sabb said.

McMaster also called for more support for education, saying it’s one of the pillars on which South Carolina’s future prosperity rests. He also wants the state to keep working to attract new companies and businesses to South Carolina on the heels of a record-setting year for economic development.

“Today, we are presented with an opportunity to take bold, transformative actions that will build prosperity for generations to come,” McMaster said.

To strengthen public safety, McMaster called for lawmakers to pass legislation to keep illegal guns out of the hands of criminals and close what he called the revolving door that lets repeated offenders out on bond.

He also entreated the General Assembly to pass a shield law that could allow lethal injections to resume. South Carolina hasn’t been able to obtain the drugs needed to carry them out in a decade and its other methods of execution are currently suspended as the state Supreme Court reviews their legality. Lawmakers advanced a shield law, which would prevent the source of the drugs from being disclosed, last week at the State House.

Closing his hour-long address, McMaster encouraged members of the General Assembly to work together and embrace civility.

“And let us set our State on a course that will provide the opportunity for prosperity, success, and happiness for generations of South Carolinians,” he said. “The best is yet to come. May God continue to bless America, and our Great State of South Carolina to come.”

This was the sixth address for McMaster, who was sworn in earlier this month for the start of his second full term in office. At the end of his new term, he will have served as the state’s chief executive longer than anyone else in state history.

Copyright 2023 WCSC. All rights reserved.

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