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June 28, 2018 - 12:00 am

NUCLEAR REACTOR-SOUTH CAROLINA

Governor asks for bigger rate cut in veto; lawmakers decline

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster has taken the expected step of vetoing a bill that did not entirely eliminate a charge customers of a private utility are paying for two nuclear plants that were never finished.

The veto was almost immediately overridden by the House and Senate, putting a 15 percent temporary rate cut for South Carolina Electric & Gas into law.

In Thursday's veto message, McMaster also asked lawmakers to stay and pass a bill that fully eliminates the 18 percent surcharge on South Carolina Electric & Gas bills because that was the only fair solution. It was ignored.

Virginia-based Dominion Energy again said the rate cuts for six months could cause it to pull out of a proposed merger with SCE&G's parent company SCANA Corp.

SOUTH CAROLINA BUDGET-THE LATEST

The Latest: Lawmakers send SC $8 billion budget to governor

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina lawmakers have sent the state's $8 billion spending plan to Gov. Henry McMaster, but not before a squabble over abortion.

The Senate approved the budget on a 30-9 vote, and three hours later Thursday, the House approved the spending plan on an 84-28 vote.

Many of the no votes came from Republicans who oppose all abortions want to remove $34 million that Medicaid gives for family planning and abstinence education and replace it with state budget money. That would allow lawmakers to remove about $20,000 that goes to Planned Parenthood.

Plenty of Republicans, even those against abortions, said the move is shortsighted and will impact other parts of the budget like help for families with children with autism.

Gov. Henry McMaster has promised to use his line-item veto to remove the money, setting up a showdown. Lawmakers will need two-thirds support to keep the money in the spending plan.

22 CHARGED

22 charged after fatal shooting in South Carolina

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A sheriff in South Carolina says his deputies have charged 22 people for their roles in a shooting that left a 17-year-old dead last month.

Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said Thursday his investigators gathered seven guns and 58 shell casings after a prearranged fight at a church near Columbia led to the gunfight that killed Amon Rice on May 10.

Lott says it is amazing only one other person was hurt.

Lott told news outlets the fight was set up after a brawl several days before.

Deputies charged four people with murder, 16 with accessory before the fact of murder and one person as an accessory after the fact. One suspect is still being sought.

Lott says he has never charged so many people in one shooting.

RIVER DROWNING

Man's body pulled from South Carolina river

CAYCE, S.C. (AP) — A South Carolina coroner says a man whose body was pulled from the Congaree River drowned.

Lexington County Coroner Margaret Fisher said in a news release Wednesday night that the victim was 50-year-old Thomas Wright Sumter of Columbia. Fisher said an autopsy Thursday confirmed that Sumter had drowned.

The Cayce Department of Public Safety recovered the body around 2 p.m. Wednesday. Sgt. Evan Antley said someone on tubing on the river spotted the body.

Investigators are still trying to determine how Sumter ended up in the river. But Public Safety Chief Byron Snellgrove said there is no sign of foul play.

CHILDREN ABANDONED-PARENTS CHARGED

South Carolina parents surrender after leaving children

CONWAY, S.C. (AP) — Two South Carolina parents have surrendered to police after they left their children in a medical office.

But a prosecutor said he may not pursue the charges if they were trying to do the right thing for the youngsters.

New outlets reported 51-year-old Jonathan Davis of Conway and 36-year-old Sarah Mae Smith of Myrtle beach are charged with child neglect.

South Carolina law allows parents to legally abandon children 60 days old or younger in safe places, including hospitals. The children left in a Conway office June 5 were a 1-year-old and one who was not yet 1.

Horry County prosecutor Jimmy Richardson told WPDE-TV he probably won't seek an indictment if the children's ages is the only legal violation. Richardson said he does not have all the facts yet.

INDIA-US ENVOY

US envoy Nikki Haley goes on inter-faith journey in India

NEW DELHI (AP) — Nikki Haley, the U.S. envoy to the United Nations, is on an inter-faith journey in India, visiting a Hindu temple, a Sikh shrine, a mosque and a church in old parts of the capital.

Born in South Carolina to Sikh immigrants from the northern Indian state of Punjab, Haley rolled breads at the Sikh shrine on Thursday, a religious way of paying obeisance to Sikh gurus.

After visiting the Jama Masjid, one of the largest mosques in India, she interacted with a child sitting outside.

She is on her first visit to India after taking over as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations in 2017. She met with India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday.

Haley visited India in 2014 when she was the South Carolina governor.

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