South Carolina is in the race to win over Amazon. Cities across the U.S. are pitching themselves as prime territory for Amazon’s new headquarters project, known as HQ2. According to The Post and Courier, York County jumped on a list of 20 potential sites offered up by the Charlotte [North Carolina] Regional Partnership. The Greenville-Spartanburg metro is making its own pitch. Upstate S.C. Alliance is touting the region as the “Heart of Charlanta” for its position between Charlotte and Atlanta and is offering Amazon 10 possible sites from Gaffney to Greenwood to the borders of Georgia and North Carolina. — David Travis Bland 

McMaster Wants Local Governments to Prove They Follow State Immigration Laws 

Gov. Henry McMaster says he wants a law that will ensure that no South Carolina cities are harboring undocumented immigrants from federal enforcement, according to The Post and Courier. South Carolina does not currently have any “sanctuary cities.” A proposal being introduced by Republican state Rep. Bruce Bannister would require local officials to prove each year that they are obeying state laws that ban local governments from restricting federal immigration enforcement. Officials at the Appleseed Legal Justice Center have called the proposal “purely political.” — Chris Trainor

Conservation Agency Head Quits

Marvin Davant, who has run the S.C. Conservation Bank for more than a decade, has submitted his resignation and will retire by the end of the year. The State’s Sammy Fretwell reports that Davant has been under fire because of funding decisions. The paper notes that “state Sen. Hugh Leatherman, R-Florence, blasted the agency for failing to provide $3 million to the S.C. Department of Natural Resources, as is required in this year’s state budget.” Leatherman reportedly wrote that, “This is an extremely serious matter and puts the Conservation Bank in violation of state law.’’ — Chris Trainor

State Fair Attendance Down This Year

The State reported that attendance to the State Fair declined this year over the previous two years. 427,466 people rode rides, visited exhibits, or destroyed their arteries. Last year 464,878 visitors did the same thing. This year’s attendance is even down from 2015 when historic flooding hit Columbia. Retiring State Fair manager Gary Goodman said a string of hot weather early on and the cancellation of ZZ Top affected attendance. — David Travis Bland

African-American Group Against Black Confederate Monument

The South Carolina African-American Heritage Commission has come out against a proposed memorial to black Confederate soldiers on the State House grounds. Two Upstate legislators proposed the monument earlier in the month. The African-American Heritage Commission says, “In its current iteration, the proposal is ahistorical, insulting and uninformed. The suggestion that African-American slaves had the ability to choose to volunteer for service in the Confederate cause is preposterous.” The group also came out in support of a statue to Robert Smalls, the formerly enslaved individual that commandeered a Confederate ship and guided it to Union lines and who would later become a state legislator. — David Travis Bland

New South Carolina IDs Required by October 2018

South Carolina has been granted an extension by the federal government to update the state’s driver’s licenses. The SC DMV will now have until October 2018 to create an ID that adheres to new federal standards. New IDs are required to get on planes, enter federal buildings and visit military bases. The DMV expects that new driver licenses will be available for people in the first quarter of 2018. South Carolina has dragged behind in making the required changes, and this is most likely the last extension. Among other problems that could stem from not having an updated ID, people would have to have a passport for domestic flights. Once the state’s new driver’s licenses are approved by the feds, residents will have until September 2020 to update their IDs. — David Travis Bland

USC Professor Wins Morrison Award

University of South Carolina professor Bobby Donaldson has won the 2017 Stephen G. Morrison Visonary Award. The award, given out by One Columbia for Arts and History, recognizes a Columbian for their vision and leadership in the arts, history and culture. Donaldson heads USC’s Center for Civil Rights History and Research, housed in the Hollings Special Collection Library. He serves as lead scholar for Columbia SC 63: Our Story Matters — the initiative that is placing markers along Main Street that detail the city’s civil rights history. “Professor Donaldson’s efforts to document and tell the story of the civil rights struggle here in Columbia have made a tremendous impact on the cultural foundation and fabric of our city,” said Jeremy Hodges, president of the One Columbia for Arts and History Board of Directors. — David Travis Bland

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