Photo by Travis Bell/Statehouse Carolina

Gov. Henry McMaster reiterated Wednesday in his sixth State of the State address that he wanted the state to continue its ongoing economic prosperity in South Carolina. He urged lawmakers to keep investing record surpluses into state reserves to prepare for a recession. He also continued his backing of raising teacher wages and fixing roads and bridges. 

He vowed to continue fighting for an abortion ban in South Carolina after the state’s high court blocked a six-week ban and unveiled a new proposal to restructure how the state selects its judges, according to WCSC-TV.

“When I signed the Heartbeat Act into law, I was confident that it was constitutional,” McMaster said in the address. “I still am. 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.”

Meanwhile, in the Democratic response, Sen. Ronnie Sabb urged passage of a hate crimes bill: “Governor, we invite you to add your voice to ours and be a part of good government — one that discourages evil. Governor McMaster, let’s pass Hate Crime Legislation.”

In other headlines:

Day 3: New evidence revealed at Murdaugh trial. The trial of former lawyer Alex Murdaugh officially began after the jury was selected Jan. 25. Prosecutors revealed new evidence in their opening statement, including a raincoat with gunshot residue found at Murdaugh’s mother’s home, cellphones and bullets from matching ammunition boxes. 

Fresh Future Farm expands with 20-acre site. The North Charleston nonprofit food organization will soon add 20 acres in a rural area at a yet-to-be-announced location. The nationally recognized organization currently operates as a neighborhood grocery store and cooperative farm.

Lowcountry organizations brace for scaling back of SNAP program. Families will go back to receiving pre-pandemic level SNAP benefits next week, and several Lowcountry organizations are preparing for what this may mean for families in the area. Outreach centers like Community Resource Center or East Cooper Community Outreach are seeing an influx of people in need of food, healthcare and clothing.

New robot allows virtual tour of S.C. Aquarium. Patients at hospitals can now visit the South Carolina Aquarium, thanks to a roving robot they can control remotely by a tablet.

Late-night laws for businesses to go in effect next month. City leaders will hold an open house for business owners on Thursday ahead of the deadline for Late-Night Establishment Permit applications. The update to the ordinance of late night businesses allows proper security and enforcement, according to Charleston Police Capt. Jason Bruder.

Charleston chef and 5 other chefs, restaurants named 2023 James Beard Award semifinalists. Chef Daniel “Dano” Heinze of Charleston’s Vern’s is among the list in the Best Chef: Southeast category along with Greenville’s Dayna Lee-Márquez of Comal 864. Columbia earned three nominations across several categories, including Best Chef: Southeast, Outstanding Hospitality and Outstanding Restaurateur, while Bluffton’s Bernard Bennett of Okàn was in the 20 Emerging Chef category. 

S.C. OKs fund for access road to Charleston International Airport. Construction on the new access road to Charleston International Airport could begin by mid-2024 after state officials committed to helping the nearly $44 million project. The access road will run next to a power line right-of-way off Montague Avenue and tie into the existing airport loop road over the next few years.

To get dozens of South Carolina news stories every business day, contact the folks at SC Clips.

Stay cool. Support City Paper.

City Paper has been bringing the best news, food, arts, music and event coverage to the Holy City since 1997. Support our continued efforts to highlight the best of Charleston with a one-time donation or become a member of the City Paper Club.