News Links

Search Amazon Here



S.C. Senate Approves $8 Billion Budget

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - The South Carolina Senate has passed the state's $8 billion budget for next fiscal year.

Senators voted 37-4 on Thursday to approve the spending plan .

The bill will likely go to a committee of House and Senate members to work out the differences between the chambers unless the House agrees with the Senate's proposal.

One big difference is $250,000 for raises for South Carolina's nine constitutional statewide offices. Gov. Henry McMaster said on Twitter he will veto that proposal because he wants more money for police officers in schools.

The Senate also put in the budget a proposal requiring cities and counties to file an annual report to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division showing they had followed immigration laws and were not so-called "sanctuary cities."


Bassmaster High School Event at Green Pond Saturday

On Saturday, B.A.S.S., the world’s largest fishing organization, will host 86 different schools from 13 states with more than 170 teams for the Mossy Oak Fishing Bassmaster High School Series Eastern Open at Green Pond Landing on Lake Hartwell. Green Pond will be closed to public fishing during the tournament.

Hosted by Visit Anderson, the boats will launch at 7 a.m. and the final weigh-in is scheduled for 3 p.m. The pubic is invited.

The High School Series pits teams of high school anglers against one another for scholarship money, prizes, bragging rights and the holy grail of high school fishing: an invitation to compete in an exhibition tournament in conjunction with the GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by DICK’S Sporting Goods. The 2018 Bassmaster Classic was just held on Lake Hartwell in March. 

The High School Series consists of four national opens (Western, Eastern, Central and Southern), in addition to 30 state championships and more than 15 sanctioned team trails. 

Throughout tournament two-person teams will try to catch the heaviest five-bass limits. New this year to the High School Series are up-to-the-minute competition updates on through the popular BASSTrakk feature, which we see in the Elite Series and other B.A.S.S. events.

With more than 7,000 student athletes representing 700 clubs in 45 states, the Bassmaster High School and Junior programs are one of the fastest-growing initiatives within B.A.S.S.


S.C. Senate Bill Limits Local Bans of Plastic Bags

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - South Carolina lawmakers are closer to passing a bill that would prevent local governments from passing their own plastic bag bans.

A Senate committee sent the bill to the Senate floor Thursday. It comes after several towns along the South Carolina coast like Folly Beach and Mount Pleasant banned stores from using plastic bags.

Supporters of the bill said a patchwork of bag bans would be hard on businesses following one set of rules in Columbia and another in Mount Pleasant.

Critics say state lawmakers aren't allowing local governments to make their own decisions if they think the bags are bad for the environment.

The bill allows towns who impose bans before Jan. 31 to keep them.

The bill passed the House in February.


S.C. Gets Poor Marks in "Nation's Report Card"

South Carolina received poor marks in the National Assessment of Educational Progress, which issues the research every two years, published its latest report Tuesday. It examines academic performance for fourth and eighth graders, which are considered key benchmark points in student education. 

According to the report card, eighth-graders' math scores remained flat but the group gained 1 point in reading, for an average score of 267 out of a possible 500, according to the data.

South Carolina scored poorly on the report card, with reading and math scores down. South Caroina Fourth Graders are 47th in the country in reading, down from 39th in 2015. 

The National Center for Education Statistics has issued the report card every two years in every state since 2003, with the goal of comparing states' educational systems.

While Anderson Couinty has several high-performing public schools, the state's overall school system often ranks among the nation's worst.

Last year,  U.S. News & World Report ranked South Carolina last among all 50 states. 

When it comes to financial commitment South Carolina ranks 33rd in per-pupil spending on education and ranks 47th in average starting salary for teachers.


McMaster Names Ex-Lobbyist to Head DHEC

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster has chosen a former lobbyist for Boeing to head the state's health and environmental agency.

McMaster said Wednesday that Mark Elam of Charleston will chair the board at the Department of Health and Environmental Control, one of the largest state agencies in South Carolina.

Elam replaces Allen Amsler as chairman. Amsler resigned in February after seven years on the board.

The nomination requires Senate approval.

DHEC oversees hospital expansions, issues birth certificates, considers pollution permits for industries, and tests water and air for contamination.

The governor's news release says McMaster is confident Elam can strike the balance between protecting the state's natural resources and allowing businesses to grow.

Elam was one of Boeing's chief lobbyists at the General Assembly from 2012 through last year.


The State: Top S.C. Officials Could Get Pay Raise in 2019

All nine of South Carolina's constitutional officers — including the governor — would get a pay raise next year under the S.C. Senate's budget proposal, debated Wednesday.

Those state officials, elected statewide every four years, need those raises to bring them in line with their peers in other states, said state Sen. Gerald Malloy, D-Darlington. 

Malloy's proposal was tacked onto the state's $8.2 billion general fund budget Wednesday, adding nearly $250,000 for those pay raises.

The state's nine constitutional officers are the governor, lieutenant governor, superintendent of education, commissioner of agriculture, attorney general, secretary of state, comptroller general, state treasurer and adjutant general.

The S.C. governor — paid about $106,000 a year — would get an added $41,863 under the Senate's proposed budget. The state superintendent and attorney general — each paid $92,007 a year — would get another $68,333 and $24,276, respectively. 

But efforts to increase pay for the state's constitutional officers could fall apart before the budget takes effect July 1, particularly as advocates for state workers argue there's no money in the proposed budget to give state employees a raise.

"I wasn't happy," state Sen. Darrell Jackson, D-Richland, said late Wednesday of the Senate's decision to OK raises for constitutional officers. "What disturbs me more than anything is, not that constitutional officers don't deserve better pay, but it's kind of ironic that in the second consecutive year there's no pay increase for janitors who work in state government."


Trump Considering Drug Testing for SNAP Benefits

The Trump administration is considering a plan that would allow states to require certain food stamp recipients to undergo drug testing, handing a win to conservatives who've long sought ways to curb the safety net program.

The proposal under review would be narrowly targeted, applying mostly to people who are able-bodied, without dependents and applying for some specialized jobs, according to an administration official briefed on the plan. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations, said roughly 5 percent of participants in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program could be affected.

The drug testing proposal is another step in the Trump administration's push to allow states more flexibility in how they implement federal programs that serve the poor, unemployed or uninsured. It also wants to allow states to tighten work requirements for food stamp recipients and has found support among GOP governors who argue greater state control saves money and reduces dependency.


Internal emails obtained by The Associated Press indicated that Agriculture Department officials in February were awaiting word from the White House about the timing of a possible drug testing announcement.

"I think we just have to be ready because my guess is we may get an hour's notice instead of a day's notice," wrote Jessica Shahin, associate administrator of SNAP.

Conservative policymakers have pushed for years to tie food assistance programs to drug testing.Concannon, the former USDA undersecretary, said the Trump administration "is keen on weakening the programs developed to strengthen the health or fairness or access to programs and imposing populist requirements that aren't evidence-based, but often stigmatize people."

The USDA in recent months has been under fire for its controversial plan to replace a portion of millions of food stamp recipients' benefits with a pre-assembled package of shelf-stable goods dubbed "America's Harvest Box." The food box plan was tucked into the Trump administration's proposed 2019 budget, which included cutting the SNAP program by $213 billion over the next 10 years. SNAP provides food assistance to roughly 42 million Americans.


Lawmakers Want Referendum on Daylight Savings Time

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Fall back or spring forward, that's the decision some South Carolina lawmakers want to leave in the hands of their voters.

Members of a House subcommittee question Wednesday whether the Palmetto State should continue adjusting their clocks twice a year to observe daylight saving time.

The bill calls for an advisory referendum which would be added to the ballots asking voters if they want to do away with the current time changing model.

The bill's sponsor, Myrtle Beach Rep. Alan Clemmons, says he thinks the committee can pass a bill or resolution for Congress to observe the wishes of South Carolinians.

South Carolina is not the only state considering the time sensitive issue. Florida has approved a measure to keep Daylight Savings Time all year.


Clemson Workshop Helps Foresters Understand Carbon Credits

Clemson Cooperative Extension experts are holding a second workshop to show South Carolina forest landowners how participating in the carbon market can provide a new revenue stream while helping combat climate change.

Carbon credits can be used to create new revenue stream for South Carolina forest landowners. Image Credit: Clemson University Public Service and Agriculture

A Carbon Market for South Carolina workshop is scheduled for 9 a.m. to noon May 9 at The Lakehouse at Clemson’s Sandhill Research and Education Center, 900 Clemson Road, Columbia. The cost is $25. Seating is limited. To register, go to

Marzieh Motallebi, an assistant professor at Clemson’s Belle W. Baruch Institute of Coastal Ecology and Forest Science, said the workshop will inform landowners about the amount of carbon sequestered due to various forest management activities. Carbon sequestration occurs when carbon is absorbed from the atmosphere.

Forest owners will learn how they can create and trade carbon offsets, also known as carbon credits. Carbon sequestration and the sale of carbon credits could be beneficial to society in many ways, including combating climate change, enhancing wildlife habitat, improving soil quality and conserving biodiversity.

“We are going to talk about the benefits of joining the carbon market for landowners,” Motallebi said. “We want to show forest landowners how they potentially can be sellers of carbon credits from their forest areas.”

A fact sheet, Carbon Offsets for South Carolina Family Forest Landowners, written by Motallebi and Clemson postdoctoral researchers Mustapha Alhassan and Hamed Majidzadeh, explains carbon offsets and why they are important.

“By participating in the carbon market, South Carolina family forest owners will have an opportunity to reduce climate change impacts if they decide to create and sell forest offsets,” Motallebi said.

Offsets can be sold through credit developers. A buyer can be an end user, which is the regulated entity in the California Cap-and-Trade Program (CA-CTP). For more information, go to


Poll: Americans Split on Sending National Guard to Border

April 11 (UPI) -- Almost half of Americans support President Donald Trump's plan to secure the U.S.-Mexico border with National Guard troops, a new survey showed Wednesday.

Forty-eight percent in a Politico and Morning Consult poll said they support the idea, while 42 percent said they oppose.

"Trump's decision to deploy National Guard troops is a hugely popular move with his base," Morning Consult Chief Research Officer Kyle Dropp said. "Sixty percent of Trump voters 'strongly' approve of the decision. Among this same group, 49 percent 'strongly' approve of Trump's job performance overall."

This week, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey committed hundreds of troops to the border and Texas Gov. Greb Abbott as many as 1,400.

Just 22 percent of Democratic voters support sending troops to the border, compared with 84 percent of Republicans. Independents are evenly divided, with 44 percent supporting each position.

When asked which party should handle immigration, 43 percent said Republicans and 39 percent answered Democrats. Thirty-six percent said building a border wall is a priority, and 54 percent said it's not.

Trump's decision to send troops to the border is more popular than his job approval, with the poll showing just 43 approve of his performance. A majority (52 percent) disapprove of Trump's job performance.


Oconee Nuclear to Perform Sirens Test Today

Duke Energy wants the public to know the outdoor warning sirens around the Oconee Nuclear Station will sound at around 11:50 a.m. today as crews perform quarterly tests on the warning devices Wednesday.

All 65 sirens within 10 miles of the Oconee Nuclear Station will be tested for three-minutes to ensure each siren works properly.

Duke Energy said hearing a siren is not a signal to immediately evacuate. In an emergency, sirens are sounded as a signal for residents to tune to local radio and TV stations that would carry an emergency alerting message.

For more information about the sirens and quarterly tests, visit


Clock Ticking on Medical Marijuana, Other S.C. Bills

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Time is running out for new potential laws in South Carolina.

Tuesday is the crossover deadline, where a bill has to pass either the House or the Senate to be considered by the other chamber with less than a two-thirds vote.

This year also is the second year of the session, so bills that don't pass have to start all over again in January.

Some bills that aren't going to make the deadline would ban so-called sanctuary cities, allow medical marijuana and give authorities more time to conduct background checks for gun purchases.

Lawmakers say shortening the legislative session two years ago means fewer bills are passed. Also, lawmakers have been dealing with complex issues like the budget and failed nuclear plants, leaving little room for debate on other bills.


Study: South Suffering From Poor School Funding

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) - A new study says the South's increasingly diverse homegrown talent won't share in the region's economic growth unless state leaders commit to spending more on public schools and higher education.

The State of the South 2018 report found that 13 states across the region are relying heavily on an influx of newcomers with college degrees to fill higher-paying jobs. At the same time, the report finds that state leaders have failed to adequately invest in public schools, higher education and other resources to prepare the next generation of workers.

David Dodson is president of the nonprofit education and job development advocacy group MDC, which published the report. He said that if states import skilled workers without nurturing their own, the next generation of homegrown talent won't get the benefits of the best jobs.

The report notes that half of the country's population growth since 1970 has occurred in the South.