State of the State (copy) (copy)

Gov. Henry McMaster smiles at Lt. Gov. Kevin Bryant before delivering the State of the State in 2018. File/Sean Rayford/AP 

COLUMBIA — January has felt like Henry McMaster month in South Carolina.

The Republican governor, elected to his first full term in the fall, was inaugurated Jan. 9 and released his executive state budget Jan. 15. 

And at 7 p.m. Wednesday, McMaster will deliver a State of the State address.

Here's a look at the annual event:

What is happening: South Carolina governors offer a message to a joint session of the S.C. House and Senate at the Statehouse each January. The governor usually shares successes from the past year and looks ahead to goals for the session that started earlier in the month.

What McMaster is expected to say: The governor already shared much of his vision in his inaugural address and executive budget.

McMaster has made priorities of teacher raises, K-12 education reform, college tuition freezes, rural economic development and prison improvements. These goals are shared by the Legislature, though how lawmakers will get everything accomplished remains unclear.

The former attorney general and lieutenant governor also wants to refund $200 million in new tax collections to South Carolinians. Lawmakers might have other ideas for spending the money, such as on new voting machines.

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Who will offer the response: State Sen. John Scott, a Columbia Democrat who has been in the General Assembly for 28 years and was Florence attorney Marguerite Willis' running mate in last year's governor election.

What is Scott expected to say: The senator said he plans to share the message that he and Willis promoted on the campaign trail last year — seeking more rural economic development, expanding Medicaid and raising the minimum wage.

"We want real promises for South Carolina, not empty promises for South Carolina," Scott said. "We will hold people's feet to the fire."

Where to watch/listen: Airing on S.C. ETV, streaming on scetv.org and broadcasting over S.C. Public Radio.

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Columbia Bureau Chief

Andy Shain runs The Post and Courier's team based in South Carolina's capital city. He was editor of Free Times and has been a reporter and editor for newspapers in Charlotte, Columbia and Myrtle Beach.

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