PRIVATE SCHOOL CHOICE
SC Senate defeats private school choice proposal
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - South Carolina senators have defeated an attempt to help parents pay for private school tuition or educate them at home through the state budget.
The 23-18 vote Wednesday rejecting the budget amendment followed nearly three hours of discussion. Senators are in their second week of debating their 2013-14 budget plan.
Efforts to use the tax code to help parents send their children to private school have died repeatedly in the Legislature since 2004.
The latest plan rejected would have given a $4,000 tax deduction per child for parents who pay tuition upfront and a $2,000 deduction for homeschooling expenses. Poor and disabled children could get scholarships for private tuition, and donors for those scholarships would have earned tax credits.
State economic advisers expected it to reduce revenues by $39 million.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY SC
SC celebrates its 225th birthday as a US state
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - South Carolina is celebrating its 225th birthday as a U.S. state.
On May 23, 1788, South Carolina became the nation's eighth state when it ratified the U.S. Constitution.
AARP South Carolina is throwing the state a birthday party to note the occasion. The group for older people is giving out samples of sweet tea and boiled peanuts outside its offices across the street from the front of the Statehouse in Columbia on Thursday. The event will move inside if it rains.
The AARP also plans to launch a fundraiser for victims of the tornado in Oklahoma.
'American Idol' champion to sing at DC concert
HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. (AP) - The newest "American Idol" champion will be performing in a concert during the Memorial Day weekend.
The Island Packet of Hilton Head Island reports that St. Helena Island native Candice Glover is scheduled to sing the national anthem at the National Memorial Day Concert in Washington, D.C., on Sunday. It will be televised on PBS.
Glover has been on a whirlwind pace since winning "Idol" last Thursday. She has appeared on late-night and morning talk shows, and is set to release her "Music Speaks" debut album on July 16. It was available for pre-order the day after she won the "Idol" crown, beating out country singer Kree Harrison.
According to Nielsen SoundScan, Glover's debut single, the inspirational pop ballad "I Am Beautiful," sold 48,000 tracks in its first week.
WOMEN FOUND DEAD
SC man suspected in 2 killings found dead
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - An 86-year-old man suspected of killing two women found in a Westminster home has been found dead at a state mental facility in Columbia.
Oconee County Sheriff's Office spokesman Jimmy Watt on Wednesday confirmed Nicholas Bonelli's death to the Independent Mail of Anderson.
Last fall, Bonelli was found not competent to stand trial for the deaths of 82-year-old Clarine Smith and her 63-year-old niece, Sandra Myers.
Authorities said Bonelli lived with Smith and was found with cuts and stab wounds that appeared to be self-inflicted. Myers' son drove to the house and found his mother and great-aunt in the living room after he couldn't reach them by phone.
No other details were available on Bonelli's death. The paper reported he suffered from dementia and clotting problems.
Coroner: Man on SC death row committed suicide
RIDGEVILLE, S.C. (AP) - Authorities say a 46-year-old man on death row for killing a fellow inmate killed himself.
WCSC-TV reports that Dorchester County Coroner Chris Nisbet says Kenneth Justus used a razor blade to commit suicide.
Justus died Tuesday night at the maximum security Lieber Correctional Institution in Ridgeville. Nisbet says Justus still had the blade in his hand when guards found him.
Justus was serving a life sentence for two killings in Oconee County when he stabbed fellow inmate Justin Bregenzer a dozen times with a homemade knife in 2005. Justus pleaded guilty to 22-year-old Bregenzer's killing and asked to die as punishment.
Bregenzer was originally in prison for breaking into cars, but ended up in maximum security after walking away from a trash pickup detail.
BOUNTY HUNTER ARRESTS
2 bounty hunters among 4 arrested in Eutawville
EUTAWVILLE, S.C. (AP) - Four people, including two bounty hunters, have been arrested at a Eutawville home.
Authorities say Corey Newkirk and Shannon Samuel went to a house in Eutawville on Tuesday to arrest David Smith, Sr., on an outstanding warrant from Maryland.
The bounty hunters handcuffed Smith and removed him and his 7-year-old son from the home. But deputies charged Newkirk and Samuel with two counts each of kidnapping because they didn't notify local authorities they were in town or ask for assistance.
Authorities say the boy's mother, Terri Ann Smith, was arrested after she gave a false name to deputies.
It wasn't known if any of the people arrested had lawyers. The boy has been placed in protective custody.
Ford's attorney seeks dismissal of ethics charges
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Sen. Robert Ford's attorney argues ethics allegations against the Charleston Democrat should be thrown out because he didn't realize he was under investigation.
Attorney William Runyon also told the Senate Ethics Committee attorney-client privilege should apply to Ford's conversations with the committee's attorney, and that Ford should get a chance to fix his campaign filings first.
The committee found probable cause last month to support allegations that Ford committed multiple violations of state ethics laws over the last four years. Runyon contends he still doesn't know precisely what Ford is accused of doing.
He said Wednesday he's guessing after receiving a box containing 5,000 pages of subpoenaed documents.
That includes a utility bill for Ford's home. Runyon says it also functions as Ford's campaign and political offices.
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