Ethics reform likely dead – With just four days left in the legislative session, a bi-partisan group of state senators voted Wednesday (The State) against making proposed ethics reform legislation a priority in order to expedidte its passage before the Senate adjourns at the end of the week until January. Encouraging passage of the bill, Democratic Sen. Vincent Sheheen and Republican Sen. Wes Hayes penned an op-ed today, saying the bill was “all about integrity, not party.” The only tri-county senator to vote against expediting the bill was Charleston Sen. Robert Ford, who is battling a handful of ethics allegations himself.

Furloughs – After looming over Charleston-area military agencies for months (CRBJ), “proposal to furlough” letters are going out to more than 4,000 employees at SPAWAR, Army Corps of Engineers, and Joint Base Charleston because of across the board defense spending cuts which took effect in March. Yesterday, in a profile by the Washington Post, 5th District Congressman Mick Mulvaney, who was swept into office to calls for steep spending cuts, admitted he was surprised at peoples’ negative reactions to the effects to budget cuts in his home district.

Savannah dredging – A U.S. District Court judge approved a settlement (SC Radio) Wednesday that would end a legal challenge by conservation groups to the $650 million deepening of the Savannah River shipping channel. The settlement (AP), reached in April, provides millions of dollars for conservation efforts, increased environmental monitoring, and passes 2,000 acres of Georgia marshland to South Carolina.

Truth in seafood advertising – A proposed bill up for debate (The State) this week in the state House could add a new definition for “local seafood” to state food labeling regulations.

Folly renourishment – Though funding to help cover state and local costs for Folly Beach renourishment was removed from the proposed House budget this week, Folly officials (P&C) say they’re optimistic they’ll get enough to cover the $3 million tab split between state and local governments. Much of the project will be funded through the federal government.

Hepatitis B in local clinicState health officials (P&C) are now asking patients who have received an injection of any kind at Tri-County Spinal Care Center in North Charleston since 2011 to be tested for hepatitis B, C, and HIV. So far, three patients (Live 5) who received injections in February have tested positive for hepatitis B.

W+F searching – The board of the Charleston Wine + Food Festival has hired a consulting firm to asist in its search (P&C) for a new executive director. Festival co-founder Angel Postell announced she would leave the post (CP) in March shortly after the 2013 festival wrapped.

No e-cig tax – Good news for all you water vapor puffers out there: there won’t be an additional tax on electronic cigarettes (The State) in South Carolina, for now at least.

Shrimps – As of 8a.m. this morning, welcome to shrimp season. (P&C)

Charlotte to Atlanta by rail – Transportation officials began meeting this week (The State) to seek comment on a set of proposed routes for a rail line between Atlanta and Charlotte.

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