— The House approved $120 million in incentives for Boeing to expand its North Charleston facility. The package needs one more procedural vote before it heads to the desk of Gov. Nikki Haley, who is expected to sign it. The Senate approved the measure last week. Two Republicans voted against the bill, criticizing its extremely quick passage. The legislation was only introduced on April 9.
— Sen. Robert Ford (D-Charleston) has 15 days to respond to allegations that he violated several state ethics laws. The Senate Ethics Committee on Wednesday said it found probable cause that supported the accusations made against Ford. He is accused of improperly converting campaign funds for personal use, then hiding those funds on required disclosure forms. A Senate Democrats’ spokesman said Ford would not comment at this time.
— Senators were reluctant to support an effort to promote solar energy in South Carolina. Several solar industry representatives on Wednesday pushed for legislation that would allow residents to install panels more cheaply. But senators agreed with electric utilities, who say the solar companies should be regulated like any other power company. Senators suggested more time and study is needed before a final decision.
— Meanwhile, a bill that would hold back third-graders who are not on reading level faced hard questioning from a Senate committee Wednesday. The bill by Sen. Harvey Peeler (R-Gaffney) would require lowest-scoring third graders to be held back a year unless they attend a summer reading camp and their scores improve. But senators who opposed the idea sided with educators, questioning if the effort would work in the long run.
— A House panel delayed a vote on a bill that tries to change South Carolina’s sex education curriculum. Supporters say they want to expand the state’s 25-year-old sex education law to offer more information about preventing teen pregnancies and sexually-transmitted disease. But opponents say they favor the state’s current emphasis on abstinence. The panel delayed a vote, likely dooming the bill for this year.
— It appears both South Carolina and Georgia officials have reached a settlement to deepen the Savannah River, The State newspaper reports. Georgia officials have agreed to pay an additional $33.5 million for extra studies and environmental mediation. The SC Savannah River Maritime Commission gave its okay to the settlement Wednesday. Both sides hope to end multiple lawsuits filed against the dredging by both South Carolina lawmakers and environmental groups. Georgia is trying to deepen the Savannah to handle larger container ships at its port.
— The state Supreme Court dismissed a legal suit filed against State Treasurer Curtis Loftis, saying there was nothing to settle. The South Carolina Retirement System Investment Commission filed the suit after Loftis refused to authorize a nearly $12 million investment payment. Loftis, who said he wanted a promise in writing that the payment would not later increase, eventually allowed the transfer on Monday. While commission officials wanted clarification about whether Loftis could block a payment, the court said the Treasurer’s actions rendered the case moot.