COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – With less than two months before the November election, a federal appeals court has reinstated a requirement that South Carolinians voting by mail in this year’s general election must obtain a witness signature for their ballots. The Thursday court order issuing an administrative stay reverses a ruling last week by a district judge who wrote that the requirement would increase the risk of contracting COVID-19 for several groups of voters. Attorneys for another group of voters are also worried that a law signed last week to allow no-excuse absentee voting in a state of emergency may not stand up to legal challenges.
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – The South Carolina General Assembly has wrapped up a most unusual 2020 session by passing a bill supporters said will help get high speed internet to hundreds of thousands of people in rural areas. The bill allows and gives incentives to smaller power companies and cooperatives to let internet providers provide their service alongside electric lines. Rep. Brian White, an Anderson Republican who pushed for the bill, said lawmakers will work to get federal grants and other money to get companies to provide internet service next year. Thursday marked the final day of the 2020 session, interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
CHESTER, S.C. (AP) – A South Carolina grand jury has indicted a county supervisor for allegedly using government cars to run a methamphetamine trafficking operation while on the clock. Authorities charged Chester County Supervisor Kenneth Shane Stuart with multiple counts of drug trafficking and public corruption in documents unsealed Thursday. The state attorney general’s office said Stuart also conspired to steal catalytic converters from county-owned vehicles. Stuart has served as supervisor since 2015 and was re-elected in 2018. Jail records show Stuart was booked this week into the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center in Columbia. He could face prison time if convicted.
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – South Carolina lawmakers have agreed on how to spend the remaining $693 million in federal money meant to help pay for COVID-19 expenses. Most of the money – $420 million – will go to replenish the state’s unemployment fund. The state already sent $500 million to the unemployment fund. The bill sends $115 million to education, local government and state agencies. The proposal spends $93 million on additional COVID-19 testing, $25 million in grants for approved nonprofit organizations and $40 million for relief money for approved minority and small businesses. The House and Senate approved the bill Wednesday and it goes to the governor’s desk.