The House is on furlough this week, although the Senate was still in session. The House returns on Tuesday, May 14.
— It appears the 2014 governor’s race is starting to overshadow debate over a proposed ethics reform package. That was on clear display Thursday, when the Senate Judiciary Committee met for hours on the proposal. Much of the attention was on Democratic candidate Sen. Vincent Sheheen (D-Camden), who proposed multiple amendments to the bill. Meanwhile Gov. Nikki Haley’s staff was on hand recording his actions. The committee advanced the bill to the full Senate.
— Gov. Haley signed into law Thursday legislation that offers incentives for movie production companies wishing to film in South Carolina. South Carolina has offered the incentives for several years as part of the budget, but the actions by Haley and legislators put the tax benefits into permanent law. The new law also offers a larger tax rebate for film companies who pay South Carolina residents and buy from South Carolina businesses.
— Meanwhile, the Senate gave its final approval to a bill that would reduce the amount of state bureaucracy that Clemson University would have to navigate for construction and real estate projects. It passed 36-4, but had been bogged down by opponents angry that Senate leaders had relied on a little-used rule to bring the matter to a vote. It now heads to the House.
— South Carolina’s former water chief across three different decades passed away from cancer Wednesday, The State newspaper reports. Alfred “Freddy” Vang was the chief executive of the state Water Resources Commission from 1983 to 2007. Under his watch, the state began studying the impact from increased development and farming on groundwater. Former colleagues say Vang was instrumental in helping develop a state water plan.
— 2014 will be the last time that voters independently choose South Carolina’s lieutenant governor before the position becomes directly tied with the governor’s race. And, as the Charleston Post & Courier reports, the race is starting to warm up. Current Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell, a Republican who reluctantly took the post when his predecessor resigned in 2012, said Saturday that he intends to run again. Two other candidates, Republican attorney Bill Connor and Democratic Rep. Bakari Sellers, have expressed interest in the post.