JUUL Labs, Inc. confirmed recent reporting this week with its announcement of a $125 million assembly facility in Lexington County that will create more than 500 jobs. The company creates widely available nicotine delivery devices. In a release, Gov. Henry McMaster’s office welcomed the announcement, and asserted that JUUL “was established to help adult smokers switch from combustible cigarettes” and “has maintained a commitment to keeping all tobacco products, including JUUL products, out of the hands of youth,” a nod to the wild popularity of JUUL among teens. The national study Monitoring the Future recently found that 20.9 percent of 12th graders surveyed in 2018 had vaped nicotine within the last month, up from 11 percent in 2017.
Legislative Session Ends, Sort Of
South Carolina’s 2019 legislative session officially ended last week with lawmakers punting several issues down the road, including an education overhaul. According to The Post and Courier, they’ll start a special session on May 20 to finish work on a $9 billion state budget and figure out whether to sell state-owned utility Santee Cooper. One thing lawmakers did get done: Approving a $120 million incentive for the North Carolina-based Carolina Panthers NFL team to build a practice facility in South Carolina.
SC Rep Feels Attacked after Rape Revelation
Earlier in the session, while the S.C. House was debating a bill that would ban most abortions after six weeks, Republican state lawmaker Nancy Mace spoke out on the House floor about being raped as a 16-year-old. She succeeded in getting exceptions for rape and incest added to the bill — a bill she supported. But following her speech, reports The State, fellow Republican Rep. Josiah Magnuson dropped a card on her desk that reads, “It is a twisted logic that would kill the unborn child for the misdeed of the parent.” The card was produced by Personhood SC. “Magnuson said he now thinks the card was ‘poorly worded’ but wasn’t targeting Mace” and didn’t change his position, The State reports. Mace was infuriated, as were House Democrats, with Rep. Todd Rutherford telling the paper, “It was one of the most detestable things that I have seen in my 21 years in the General Assembly.”
USC Students Graduate
More than 6,300 students graduated from the University of South Carolina’s Columbia campus last week, including 4,340 undergraduates, 188 law students, 178 medical students, and 106 pharmacy students, and more than 1,500 graduate students. It was President Harris Pastides’ last commencement address, as he will retire this summer.