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S.C. lawmakers talk priorities as legislative session kicks off

Published: Jan. 12, 2022 at 7:56 AM EST|Updated: Jan. 12, 2022 at 8:07 AM EST
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WMBF) - South Carolina lawmakers have a lot to accomplish over the next 18 weeks as the new legislative session kicks off in Columbia.

Right now, S.C. Rep. Case Brittain says he’s focused on making I-73 a reality. He emphasized the roadway would not only create another evacuation route, it would also connect Horry County to I-95. This means more tourists and money to the Grand Strand.

“I think [I-73] is a paramount thing for Horry County and the Grand Strand, and to be honest with you, the state of South Carolina,” said Brittain.

Brittain wants to secure all the funding needed for I-73, including the $300 million Gov. Henry McMaster previously promised. He says his main hope is making South Carolina the best it can be, adding I-73 would contribute to that.

“Really want to try and do what we can that is best for our constitutes and the state as a whole. We are very fortunate that South Carolina has been very prominent over the past couple of years, especially during the tough times during COVID. You know, I look to continue and feel very honored to be able to represent my area, [District] 107 and the state of South Carolina, and just ask for prayers and support for continued success,” said Brittain.

McMaster says the state will come up with half of the $1.6 billion price tag, but lawmakers still need to set that money aside. The other half will need to come from federal and local governments.

Both the cities of Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach have committed money to the project but still need commitment from other cities and counties.

Another issue at hand is education. Brittain, who sits on the education committee, says a major goal this session is finding a way to make the education program bigger than what it is now.

Brittain also wants to make sure money gets to the places that need it.

This week, McMaster put out his budget recommendations with a lot of money to spend. Brittan says the governor is trying to restructure how education funding is distributed to make sure every district receives what it needs.

Brittain added this is something he’s watching closely because education is the foundation of society.

”It’s what produces intelligent productive individuals, so always want to keep an eye out for that kind of stuff,” said Brittain.

Part of this proposal to change school funding would boost teacher pay, which is something Brittain says is an important issue to him.

“We all have a teacher that we look up to and remember. I remember my third grade teacher, I love her to death and teachers make big impacts on our lives. So you know, I don’t think there is a way you can pay them for the impact that have on children’s lives,” said Brittain.

As always, WMBF News will keep you updated on these issues.

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