McMaster appoints CPA to state's economic advisory board

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- Gov. Henry McMaster has named a former business and banking executive to lead South Carolina's economic advisory board. Edward Grimball of Edisto Island is the next chairman of the Board of Economic Advisors, which reviews and approves revenue projections that lawmakers use to write the state budget. McMaster said Tuesday he's confident the board under Grimball will provide reliable research and analysis.

The Latest: DSS: $3.75M verdict from heartbreaking abuse

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- The Latest on a $3.75 million verdict in a South Carolina child abuse case (all times local): 4:20 p.m. The South Carolina Department of Social Services says the abuse of a toddler that led to a $3.75 million verdict against the agency is a heartbreaking tragedy. DSS spokeswoman Karen Wingo said Monday in a statement that the award given by a Spartanburg County jury shows that social workers must remain vigilant.

6,000 jobs are unfilled across South Carolina agencies

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- For South Carolinians who need a job, there are lots of openings in state government. The State newspaper reports Saturday (http://bit.ly/2mCr4ts ) that low pay and increased workloads contribute to agencies' roughly 6,000 vacancies. According to the Department of Administration, 14 percent of the state's full-time jobs are vacant. That excludes positions at public universities and in the judicial and legislative branches.

House panel proposes borrowing $500 million for projects

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- South Carolina lawmakers have come up with a plan to borrow millions of dollars to make repairs at various colleges, universities and state-owned buildings. The State newspaper reported (http://bit.ly/2njUdZb) the House Ways and Means Committee on Thursday trimmed $2 billion in requests to $500 million. Colleges, universities and technical schools would get about half of the money. Anderson Rep.

Tax returns show McMasters earned almost $426,000 in 2015

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster and his wife's reported earnings have risen from a nearly $122,000 loss in 2000 to an almost $426,000 profit in 2015, his first year as lieutenant governor. That's according to 16 years of income tax returns reporters for The Associated Press and other media outlets were allowed to view in the governor's office Thursday. His 2016 returns are not yet prepared.

South Carolina editorial roundup

Recent editorials from South Carolina newspapers: ___ March 20 The Post and Courier (of Charleston) on the so-called "schoolhouse to jailhouse pipeline:" Maintaining discipline in the classroom can be a challenge for any teacher. And few things can harm other students' ability to focus and learn more than a particularly disruptive classmate. That much is clear.

Concerns about investigation stall picks for Ports board

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- A widening investigation into potential Statehouse corruption prompted a screening panel to delay voting Wednesday on whether to advance Gov. Henry McMaster's picks for the South Carolina Ports Authority board. The Ports Authority oversight board wants to thoroughly review the two nominees' associations with veteran political and public relations consultant Richard Quinn, said its chairman, Sen. Larry Grooms, R-Charleston.

3 SCDOT workers plead guilty in kickback schemes

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- Three South Carolina Department of Transportation employees have pleaded guilty in kickback schemes at the agency's Richland County office. The state attorney general's office said in a news release that Allen Ray ran a fake company to which road work money funneled.

Confederate flag flies next to NCAA arena in South Carolina

GREENVILLE, S.C. (AP) -- A small group of protesters flew a large Confederate flag from the top of a parking garage next to a South Carolina arena hosting two men's NCAA Tournament games. The group arrived Sunday morning, raising the flag from the back of a pickup truck . They planned to stay throughout the games and be on grounds as fans arrived at Bon Secours Wellness Arena.

Confederate flag flies next to NCAA arena in South Carolina

GREENVILLE, S.C. (AP) -- A small group of protesters flew a large Confederate flag from the top of a parking garage next to a South Carolina arena hosting two men's NCAA Tournament games. The group arrived Sunday morning, raising the flag from the back of a pickup truck . They planned to stay throughout the games and be on grounds as fans arrived at Bon Secours Wellness Arena.

The Latest: Courson suspended after ethics indictment

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- The Latest on Sen. John Courson's indictment on ethics charges (all times local): 4 p.m. One of South Carolina's longest-serving senators has been suspended following ethics charges tied to Republican powerbroker Richard Quinn. Prosecutor David Pascoe announced Friday a State Grand Jury indicted Sen. John Courson of Columbia on misconduct in office and using campaign donations for personal expenses. All three charges are tied to Courson's payments to Quinn's firm. Lt.

33-year veteran Sen. John Courson indicted on ethics charges

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- One of South Carolina's longest-serving senators has been indicted on ethics charges tied to veteran Republican powerbroker Richard Quinn. Solicitor David Pascoe, the prosecutor investigating Statehouse corruption, announced Friday that a state grand jury indicted Republican Sen. John Courson of Columbia on misconduct in office and using campaign donations for personal expenses. All three charges are tied to Courson's payments to Quinn's political consulting firm.

SLED requests 2004 document of GOP finances under McMaster

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- State investigators obtained documents showing a temporary infusion of cash from political operatives helped Gov. Henry McMaster get re-elected state Republican Party chairman in 2000, though there's no indication McMaster himself is under investigation. Former party treasurer Glen O'Connell confirmed Thursday he gave his 2004 review of GOP finances to State Law Enforcement Division agents about a month ago. Their request came amid a solicitor's continued investigation into Statehouse corruption.

South Carolina editorial roundup

Recent editorials from South Carolina newspapers: ___ March 15 The Post and Courier (of Charleston) on firing the director of the state Department of Public Safety: The South Carolina House of Representative's decision on Tuesday to get rid of a Cabinet officer exemplifies why improved governance is so hard to achieve in a legislative state.

House's $8 billion plan includes money for Matthew cleanup

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- The House's roughly $8 billion plan for state taxes spends $100 million on upgrading K-12 schools, puts an additional $38 million into a per-student payment, and buys $10 million worth of school buses. The House voted 115-3 early Wednesday to send its budget proposal for the fiscal year beginning July 1 to the Senate.

Lancaster man pleads guilty to child sex charges

LANCASTER, S.C. (AP) -- A Lancaster man is facing 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to a sexual assault on a child. South Carolina Attorney General's Office spokeswoman Hayley Thrift Bledsoe tells The Herald of Rock Hill (http://bit.ly/2nmNTBn) 26-year-old Albert Lee Witherspoon pleaded guilty to criminal sexual conduct with a minor for an incident that happened in 2010. Witherspoon was taken into custody after the guilty plea and is in the Lancaster County jail.

The Latest: Director calls House vote 'disappointing'

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- The Latest on legislators vote to eliminate the Public Safety's director's salary as a way to oust him (all times local): ___ 5:15 p.m. The director of South Carolina's Department of Public Safety calls a House vote seeking his removal "disappointing." Lawmakers voted 76-20 Tuesday to eliminate the director's position and reduce the agency's funding. That would effectively fire Leroy Smith if the clause remains in the budget. Democratic Rep.

House seeks firing Public Safety director through budget

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- Legislators voted Tuesday to fire the director of South Carolina's Department of Public Safety through the state budget, saying his micromanaging is decimating trooper ranks. The House voted 76-20 to eliminate the director's position and reduce the agency's funding. If the clause remains in the 2017-18 budget, which is still being debated, it would effectively fire Leroy Smith, who's been at the helm since November 2011.

Senate Finance advances $800 million road-funding plan

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- Senators advanced a bill Tuesday that would eventually raise nearly $800 million more annually for South Carolina's roadways, though arguments that killed previous road-funding proposals are expected to resurface during the floor debate. The Senate Finance Committee voted 14-7 on a proposal that would increase the state's gas tax by 12 cents over the next six years, to 28 cents per gallon.