VIRUS OUTBREAK-SOUTH CAROLINA
SC governor adds criminal penalties to COVID-19 orders
WEST COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina's governor has issued what he called a work-to-home order, which adds fines and possible jail time to keep residents away from each other and catching the coronavirus. Monday's order adds a $100 fine or 30 days in jail to anyone violating the dozen-plus orders Gov. Henry McMaster has issued. The governor's order does not close any additional businesses and he says you can call it a “stay-at-home” order. McMaster says he hasn't been tested for the virus because he has shown no symptoms. The state National Guard has announced they are planning to add 3,000 hospital beds in the next month to the 6,000 beds currently available.
New Louisiana Medicaid director begins job in virus outbreak
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana has a new state Medicaid director. Ruth Johnson started the job Monday in the middle of the coronavirus epidemic. The state health department announced Johnson's hiring Monday. She has has worked in state government agencies across Louisiana, South Carolina and Texas over the last three decades. Johnson worked as the secretary of the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services from 2010-12 during former Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration. Most recently, Johnson was chief operating officer for the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. Louisiana also will soon have a new health secretary. Courtney Phillips is supposed to take over the position later this month. Phillips has led the Texas Health and Human Services Commission.
BUDGET PROJECTIONS-SOUTH CAROLINA
South Carolina to get new, lower budget prediction
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The board that predicts how much money South Carolina will take in from taxes and fees to help set the budget is meeting Thursday. The Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Board postponed March’s meeting for three weeks after the coronavirus caused a massive economic downturn and some 100,000 people to report they lost their jobs in two weeks. Economists agree South Carolina won't have $1.8 billion extra to spend as earlier predicted and the House budget passed last month must be rewritten. It will be up to the board to decide the new revenue figures.
Carolina Panthers buy land for new practice facility in SC
ROCK HILL, S.C. (AP) — Property records show the Carolina Panthers have spent more than $16 million to buy the land for its new practice facility in South Carolina. The York County property records obtained by The Herald of Rock Hill say the NFL team wrapped up the deal to buy 240 acres near Interstate 77 in Rock Hill on March 27. The site is not currently in Rock Hill, but the city plans to annex it soon. Local officials want to create an entertainment complex with hotels and restaurants. The team hopes to open the practice facility in 2022. The Panthers will continue to play their games in Charlotte, North Carolina.
STATE POLICE ACCREDITATION
SC state police receive accreditation and high honor
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina’s state police agency has again been accredited by a major law enforcement organization. The State Law Enforcement Division said it was also given an extra award by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies Inc. CALEA gave the state agency its excellence award. SLED first sought and obtained accreditation from CALEA in 1994. This is the third time the agency has received the organization’s seal of approval. SLED Chief Mark Keel says it is critical his agents be held to the highest standards.
Some Democrats say SC Legislature meeting is unsafe