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McMaster Vetoes Roads Bill; Override Likely

Making good on his promise, Gov. Henry McMaster vetoed a proposal Tuesday to raise taxes and fees to pay to repair South Carolina’s crumbling roads.

However, both the S.C. House and Senate passed the plan by super-majorities, meaning they easily should override the Republican governor’s veto. They could do so as early as Wednesday. 

The Transportation Department has estimated it needs an added $1 billion a year to repair S.C. roads and bridges.

After more than two years of debate, senators voted Monday – 32-12 – and state representatives voted Tuesday – 99-20 – to increase the state’s gas tax by 12 cents a gallon and increase other driving fees to provide about $630 million a year of that added money.

However, late Tuesday, McMaster vetoed the road repair bill, which also included tax cuts.

“If we would simply reform how DOT spends your tax dollars to be responsible and accountable, we’d have plenty of money – and this gas tax hike would be totally unnecessary,” McMaster said in a video veto message on his social media account. 


Study: Babies Benefit Mentally from Early Engagement of Dads

Fathers can have a significant impact on their babies cognitive development by engaging with them in the early months of life.

A new study by researchers at Imperial College London, King's College London and Oxford University found babies whose fathers were more engaged and active when playing with them in their first months performed better in cognitive tests at age 2, compared to babies whose fathers were not engaged with them.

"Even as early as three months, these father-child interactions can positively predict cognitive development almost two years later, so there's something probably quite meaningful for later development, and that really hasn't been shown much before," Paul Ramchandani, a professor in the Department of Medicine at Imperial College, said in a press release.

Researchers analyzed data on 128 fathers, accounting for factors such as income and age, and recorded videos of parents interacting with their babies, without toys, at three months and then when reading books to children at age 2.

They found a positive correlation between the amount of engagement between babies and fathers and how children scored on cognitive tests as toddlers. Fathers with more positive outlooks were more likely to have babies who performed better on the MDI scales of infant development regardless of the baby's gender.

"Our findings highlight the importance of supporting fathers to interact more positively with their children in early infancy," said Dr. Vaheshta Sethna, a researcher in the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at King's College. "Specifically, considering interventions which encourage increased father-infant engagement with shared positive emotions, and book sharing sessions supportive of cognitive development."


House to Decide Fate of S.C. Roads Bill

The House could decide whether a bill that increases South Carolina's gas taxes for the first time in 30 years becomes law.

The House is expected Tuesday to take up a compromise that raises the tax by 12 cents over six years to 28.75 cents per gallon. But it provides a way for South Carolina drivers to get the money back during the phase-in.

House approval would send the bill to Gov. Henry McMaster, who promises to veto it.

That's not expected to matter. The Senate approved the compromise late Monday with a veto-proof 32-12 majority. The House has supported road-funding proposals with super-majority votes for several years.

The Republican-controlled Legislature hasn't increased any tax since 2010, when it overrode then-Gov. Mark Sanford's veto for a 50-cent-per-pack cigarette tax hike.


Publix Recalls Artichoke and Spinach Dip

Publix Super Markets issued a voluntary recall for Publix Deli Artichoke and Spinach Dip on Monday.

The supermarket chain said there is a possibility that the dip may contain small glass fragments.

The 16 oz. artichoke and spinach dip was sold at Publix stores in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina , Alabama and Tennessee with a UPC of 000-41415-15961, and a use-by-date of May 16 A1 and May 16 C1. This information can be found on the lid of the container.

"As part of our commitment to food safety, potentially impacted product has been removed from all store shelves,”Maria Brous, Publix media and community relations director, states in a news release. "We were made aware of potentially impacted product through customer complaints. Consumers who have purchased the product in question may return the product to their local store for a full refund.”

Customers can also call the Publix Customer Care department at 1-800-242-1227.


Trump Considers Sending More Troops to Afghanistan

U.S. President Donald Trump's senior advisers said they have proposed sending additional troops to Afghanistan to weaken the Taliban in an effort to bring about negotiations.

In order to send the reinforcements, Trump must approve the recommendation by his senior military and foreign policy advisers aimed at breaking a military deadlock in the war that began in 2001, U.S. officials told The New York Times. The proposed additional troops would work together with a greater number of Afghan forces and operate more closely to the front lines.

The new strategy, which is supported by top Cabinet officials, would give the Pentagon the authority to set troop numbers in Afghanistan and to carry out airstrikes against Taliban militants.

U.S. officials told The Washington Post the new plan expands the U.S. military role in Afghanistan to stem an increasingly confident and resurgent Taliban to force it back to the negotiating table with the Afghan government.

More Here


Most Salt in Diet Not Added From Table Shaker

Tossing out the salt shaker may not be enough for your heart health. Most of the salt that Americans consume comes from processed foods and restaurant meals, a new study finds.

In a sampling of 450 U.S. adults, only 10 percent of salt, or sodium, in their diet came from food prepared at home. About half of that was added at the table.

Instead, restaurant meals and store-bought foods -- including crackers, breads and soups -- accounted for 71 percent of salt intake, the study found.

"Care must be taken when food shopping and eating out to steer clear of higher-sodium foods," said lead researcher Lisa Harnack.

For prevent harmful high blood pressure, Americans are advised to limit salt intake to 2,300 milligrams (mg) daily, said Harnack, a professor at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. That's the equivalent of one teaspoon.

But, more than eight out of 10 Americans exceed this limit "by a mile," she said.

Food diaries from study participants showed that about 3,500 mg of sodium was consumed a day on average.

More Here


Hobby Lobby Accused of "Sham" Pricing

Hobby Lobby, the world's largest private arts-and-crafts retailer in the world and owned by the evangelical Christian and religious freedom advocate Green family, has been accused in a class action lawsuit of illegally luring customers with "sham" prices and reaping drastic benefits.

"This class action targets Hobby Lobby's unlawful, unfair, and fraudulent business practice of advertising fictitious prices and corresponding phantom discounts on their Hobby Lobby branded and/or trademarked lines of merchandise," the 58-page lawsuit, filed May 1, alleges.

"This practice of false reference pricing occurs where a retailer fabricates a fake regular, original, and/or former reference price, and then offers an item for sale at a deep 'discounted' price. The result is a sham price disparity that misleads consumers into believing they are receiving a good deal and induces them into making a purchase. Retailers drastically benefit from employing a false reference-pricing scheme and experience increased sales," it continues.

Christina Chase, a resident of San Diego, California, is identified as the lead plaintiff in the case. Chase claims in the lawsuit that around March 1, inspired by deceptive advertising, marketing, and "discount" pricing schemes, she purchased a 5" x 7" Green Tree Gallery Shadow Box Display Case Photo Frame for approximately $8.99 at Hobby Lobby's Grossmont Boulevard, La Mesa, California, store. She also purchased a Master's Touch Fine Art Studio Oil, Acrylic & Watercolor Chisel Blender for approximately $2.34 that same day.

"After examining the price tag, in particular the 'Marked' price as $17.99, Ms. Chase believed the picture frame had previously been sold for $17.99 at Hobby Lobby. When she examined the representation on the placard, displaying the discounted sale percentage of '50% OFF the Marked price,' or $8.99, Ms. Chase reasonably believed she was purchasing a picture frame that had a value significantly higher than the $8.99 purchase price," the lawsuit says.

"In short, Ms. Chase believed she was getting a good deal. 16. However, this product was never offered for sale or sold at the $17.99 price, nor was it offered for sale or sold at that price within the 90-day period immediately preceding Ms. Chase's purchase. Therefore, Ms. Chase was damaged by her purchase of the picture frame."

Similar damage was alleged in the case of the paint brush.

The plaintiffs want Hobby Lobby to end the alleged deception and engage in a corrective advertising campaign, among other things.

More at Christian Post


Bill Helps Foster Teens Get Driver's License

A new South Carolina law, written by Rep. Anne Thayer, R-Anderson, is designed to make it easier for teens in foster care to get a driver's license.

The law ceremoniously signed Monday by Gov. Henry McMaster allows foster parents or other adults responsible for a teen to sign an application for a beginner's permit or license. Previously, only the parents or legal guardian could sign.

"Foster children have already experienced too much heartbreak in life," Thayer said. "We need to make life as "normal" as possible for them once they enter the system. For teens, getting a driver's license is a monumental event. I'm so happy our foster teens now get to share that experience."

Department of Social Services Director Susan Alford says the law ensures teens in foster care can "experience the normal rites of passage" to becoming an adult and develop skills for being on their own.

Alford says there are 916 teens ages 15 to 18 in foster care.

In South Carolina, 15-year-olds can obtain a beginner's permit. Seventeen-year-olds can get a regular license.

The law took effect with McMaster's signature April 5.


Senate Sends Roads Bill Back to the House

The bill to fix South Carolina roads by raising the gas tax and charging motorists other fees has again cleared the Senate. 

The committee presented this to the full Senate on Monday and the vote to pass the bill was 32-12.

It took a committee of lawmakers several hours last week to merge the House and Senate's version of the bill. It raises the gas tax by 12-cents per gallon over 6 years, but also adds in tax credits and rebates. 

Now, the House must also approve the bill. If the House votes to pass the bill, it will set up a showdown between lawmakers and Gov. Henry McMaster. 


Clemson Graduations Set for Thursday, Friday

Clemson University will present approximately 3,200 degrees in four commencement ceremonies this week in Littlejohn Coliseum.

There will be two ceremonies each on Thursday and Friday. There also will be a Doctoral Hooding Ceremony at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Brooks Center for the Performing Arts where more than 70 Ph.D. graduates will receive hoods in honor of attaining the highest level of formal education.

Thursday, May 11

  • 9:30 a.m. — College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences
  • 2:30 p.m. — College of Business and College of Education
  • 7 p.m. — Doctoral Hooding Ceremony

Friday, May 12

  • 9:30 a.m.  — College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences and College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences
  • 2:30 p.m. — College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities and College of Science

The graduation ceremonies will be streamed online at


Peace Officers Memorial Service Set for Tuesday

The Anderson County Fraternal Order of Police will host the "Peace Officers Memorial Service" Tuesday at 6 p.m. at the Anderson County Courthouse. A Police Memorial Motorcade will leave the Anderson Mall at 5:45 p.m. travel south on Main street and arrive on the square at 6:00 p.m.

The purpose of the service is to honor those who have fallen. For more information, call 864-933-5099


Senate to Decide Road Funding Bill

Senators are expected to debate a road-funding compromise that would eventually raise the state's gas tax by 12 cents but allow South Carolina drivers to get the money back.

The Senate's vote will likely determine whether a bill intended to provide a long-term funding stream for South Carolina's crumbling roadways becomes law after several years of debate.

A compromise agreed to Friday by a six-member legislative panel would increase the gas tax to 28.75 cents per gallon over six years. Drivers could recoup the extra money paid at the pump through their income tax returns until the phase-in is complete.

Other increased fees include the sales tax cap on vehicles, which would rise from $300 to $500.

The compromise would cut property taxes on manufacturers and expand income tax credits.


S.C. Bills on Guns, Marijuana Dead for Year

South Carolina legislation that lets more people carry guns, legalizes medical marijuana and borrows money to repair public buildings are among proposals dead for the year.

While they received attention, one issue eclipsed all others this legislative session - fixing South Carolina's deteriorating roadways. Legislators are poised to pass South Carolina's first gas tax hike in 30 years, if they can approve a compromise worked out late Friday between the House and Senate plans and overcome a gubernatorial veto.

That's a tall hurdle. By law, the regular session ends Thursday.

Legislators could carry debate on road funding and the state budget into a special session. The Senate passed a resolution Wednesday setting aside May 23 through 25 for that possibility. But other issues will have to wait until next year.