— State Sen. Vincent Sheheen (D-Camden) officially announced Wednesday that he will run for governor a second time. Sheheen, who lost to current Gov. Nikki Haley in a tightly-contested 2010 race, said he believes voters want a change in state government. Sheheen has made little secret about his desire to try again, outlining his plan for South Carolina in a book released earlier this year.
— Gov. Haley has not publicly said whether she will seek a second term, although it is widely assumed she will do so. Part of the reason why is that she has raised more than $2 million for a possible second campaign, her senior advisor told the Associated Press. Tim Pearson said Haley’s campaign held 12 fundraisers between January and April, collecting nearly 1,200 donations.— The Senate voted for the state foot the bill for up to $120 million in infrastructure costs to help Boeing expand its proposed North Charleston facility. The money would be raised through bonds and would pay for utilities and site improvements at the site near the Charleston International Airport. Opponents questioned why such a large amount of money was being pushed through so quickly (Sen. Hugh Leatherman only introduced the bill on Tuesday).
— Senators also voted to create a special fund for South Carolinians who were victimized by the hacking at the state Department of Revenue last year. During debate on a major cyber-security bill, members voted unanimously in favor of an amendment by Sen. Sheheen that would create the fund. However, even supporters weren’t sure how much money the fund would require or even how potential victims could prove their identities were stolen by the breach.
— A Senate panel “snuffed out” a bill that would have allowed employers to hire and fire people for smoking away from the job. The proposal by Sen. Kevin Bryant (R-Anderson) would have repealed a state law that prevents businesses from firing employees who use tobacco outside the workplace. Hospitals have pushed for the change, but most members of the subcommittee said employees should not be punished for private decisions they make outside of the workplace.
— Meanwhile, a House subcommittee advanced legislation that would allow gun owners to purchase a concealed weapon permit (CWP) online. The State Law Enforcement Division hopes the online system will allow it process the permits more quickly. The agency says it is swamped with CWP requests right now and hopes to have the system running within six months. Representatives also agreed to increase the CWP fee to $75, up from $50.