VC Summer January 2018 across lake sunset

Unit 1 at the V.C. Summer nuclear reactor complex has been generating power since 1984, while the incomplete Units 2 and 3 stand unfinished since construction was abandoned in 2017.

While there’s been widespread outrage among SCE&G ratepayers that a significant part of their utility bills has gone to pay for a now-abandoned nuclear project, that’s not even the whole story. According to new information released by the state Office of Regulatory Staff, some of that money has actually gone to SCANA shareholders. “About $529 million of the $2 billion that SCE&G customers have paid toward the failed V.C. Summer nuclear project went to shareholders of SCE&G’s parent company, SCANA,” The State reports. — Eva Moore


Residents Hit the Streets for Stronger Gun Laws

Thousands of people, many of them students, took to the streets of Columbia March 24 as part of March For Our Lives, a movement that pushed for stricter gun regulations and greater school safety. David Travis Bland, reporting for The State, wrote that the Columbia event “was organized in part by Building Better Communities, a Midlands organization that works with law enforcement to create better community relations, as well as local chapters of Moms Demand Action, Faith Coalition On Gun Violence and Moms Against Gun Violence.” An estimated 3,000 people attended the Columbia march. Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin, state Rep. James Smith and others offered remarks. The marches nationwide came in the wake of the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that recently claimed 17 lives. — Chris Trainor

Smith, Noble Net Endorsements

The South Carolina Sierra Club endorsed James Smith in the state’s Democratic gubernatorial primary. The move came after a unanimous vote by the board, with vice chair Susan Corbett saying, “James Smith has done more for environmental protection and citizens’ rights to protect South Carolina’s natural wonders than any other lawmaker in the history of this chapter’s work in this state.” Meanwhile, opponent Phil Noble has recently touted the endorsements of Anderson Mayor Terence Roberts and state Sen. McKinley Washington Jr. James Sanderson, president of the Local 7898 of United Steel Workers, also has endorsed Noble. “He’s the only candidate anywhere in South Carolina who doesn’t shy away from the truth: This legislature and its several executives have run a protracted assault upon our middle-class families,” Sanderson says. Attorney Marguerite Willis also is running for the Democratic nomination. — Chris Trainor and Eva Moore

Dan Johnson Draws a Primary Challenger

Embattled Fifth Circuit Solicitor Dan Johnson — who has come under fire for paying for lavish expenses with public money — has drawn a Democratic primary opponent, according to The Post and Courier. Columbia attorney Byron Gipson says he’ll challenge Johnson. The Fifth Circuit includes Richland and Kershaw counties. As for the alleged runaway spending from Johnson’s office, Gipson, 46, said, “If those reports turn out to be true, there was some poor judgment that was used. We have to stand above reproach in all we do.” Gipson works for the law offices of Johnson, Toal & Battiste. — Chris Trainor

Malinowski Draws Richland Council Challenger

Stan Smith, 37, a real estate company owner who lives near Lake Murray, is planning to run against sitting Richland County Councilman and retired FBI agent Bill Malinowski, who’s held the position since 2007. Malinowski and Smith are Republicans, and they’ll face off in a primary in June. District 1 encompasses Ballentine, Dutch Fork, White Rock and portions of Chapin and Irmo and is a conservative district for the mostly Democratic council. Smith calls himself a “good-government conservative.” — David Travis Bland

State Agency Will Allow Parents to Bring Infants to Work

The state Department of Insurance is allowing parents to bring infant children to work as part of a trial program. As noted by The Post and Courier, “both public and private organizations elsewhere around the country have instituted similar policies in recent years in efforts to ease employees back into the workplace after having a child.” Department director Ray Farmer says he thinks such a move can help with employee retention and morale at the agency. “I’m no medical psychologist or anything, but it’s got to help the mama and the baby bond,” Farmer said. — Chris Trainor

Bales Collapses at Legislative Desk

Longtime state Rep. Jimmy Bales, a Democrat from Lower Richland, collapsed at his desk in the state House of Representatives March 21. The collapse came just a day after Bales, 82, was in a car accident in which he flipped his car multiple times. According to The Post and Courier, state Rep. Todd Rutherford indicated that Bales “flipped his car three times Tuesday after swerving to miss a dog, got out and called the sergeant at arms to come get him to bring him to the State House.” Following his March 21 collapse, he was wheeled out of the House chambers on a stretcher, but was awake and gave a thumb’s up as he was being led away. — Chris Trainor

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