Columbia attorney Leighton Lord, who is seeking the Republican nomination for attorney general, has officially launched his campaign with a new television ad. Lord is the first attorney general candidate to produce a TV ad, which touts his legal experience in both the public and private sectors.
Lord issued a statement Thursday formally announcing a candidacy that has been under way since November, when Lord filed the required paperwork with the S.C. Ethics Commission to begin raising money for a run.
"As many of you have heard, I have decided to run for Attorney General. I am excited to bring my legal training, my years of law enforcement experience, and my proven leadership of one of South Carolina's largest law firms into the office of Attorney General," Lord said in the statement.
Columbia attorney Robert Bolchoz and Lexington attorney Alan Wilson are also seeking the Republican nomination for attorney general. Henry McMaster, who was elected to two terms, is seeking the GOP nomination for governor.
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- Staff Reports
Rove to visit S.C. GOP
Karl Rove, who served as an adviser to President Bush during the Republican's two terms in office, will speak in Columbia next month.
Rove will deliver the keynote address at the Silver Elephant banquet, the S.C. Republican Party's biggest annual fundraiser.
Rove, a political strategist for Bush, has recently published a book, "Courage and Consequence: My Life as a Conservative in the Fight."
The announcement on the Rove visit comes a day after S.C. Democrats announced a gubernatorial debate on the same day in the same building.
- Staff Reports
Bill limiting water withdrawals gets OK
Georgia has a water-use permitting law, and North Carolina is working on one. South Carolina needs something similar so it can negotiate with those states on the contentious issue of water rights.
The state moved an important step closer Thursday when the Senate gave second-reading approval to a water bill, S.452.
Water-use regulation has been one of the major legislative goals of conservation groups and state regulators for several years. The current bill, S.452, reflects compromises between industrial users and wildlife and conservation leaders.
"It's a better framework than what we had because we really had no framework," said Patrick Moore of the Coastal Conservation League.
The bill strengthens reporting requirements for industrial and municipal water users, adjusts the minimum flow required in rivers based on the season of the year and requires stricter standards on new water users.
The reporting changes mean "we'll know who's taking what water, when and where," Moore said.
But conservation leaders are disappointed existing water users will be grandfathered in, meaning they will have fewer restrictions than new users. Large industries and utilities will be allowed to take as much water out of rivers and lakes as they have in the past.
During recent droughts, water flow in some rivers has dropped low enough to threaten wildlife and the water supply for downstream users.
After third reading in the Senate, the bill will go to the House for consideration.
- Joey Holleman
SENATE DEBATES $100 MILLION MALL INCENTIVES
The Senate continued debate Thursday on a sales tax incentive package for Okatie Crossings, the proposed $400 million luxury mall an Atlanta developer wants to build off I-95 in Jasper County.
Sen. Clementa Pinckney, D-Jasper, held the floor for much of the session touting the plan as vital to employment in his economically distress county. The day ended with another Lowcountry senator, Republican Tom Davis, arguing the deal would be a bad investment for S.C.
The proposed 1.5 million-square-foot mall, slated to create 2,500 retail jobs and 800 construction jobs, is seen by Jasper County residents as a badly needed economic engine for their region, where unemployment ranges from 12 percent to nearly 20 percent.
Opponents argue it will not create new jobs, but instead pirate jobs from one retail development to another.
The Sembler Company has agreed to conditions that no sales tax rebates would not be available unless it first reached specified investment thresholds, then maintains established employment levels.
The debate over the incentive package will resume Tuesday.
'SANFORD' ETHICS RULE DELAYED
A House panel has delayed discussion on publicly releasing details of ethics investigations once a South Carolina agency decides to pursue charges.
A House Judiciary subcommittee ran out of time Thursday before it got to that bill.
The legislation clarifies issues raised last fall after the State Ethics Commission investigated Gov. Mark Sanford's use of planes and campaign money after Sanford disappeared in June to rendezvous with his Argentine lover.
The commission said it couldn't release details of an investigation that yielded 37 charges.
Legislators considering impeachment argued the report should be released and the state Supreme Court agreed. The justices said Sanford had waived confidentiality rights.
- The Associated Press