[image-1]After a long and restful holiday, we’re back at it today with a super-sized Agenda recapping a few of the major stories over the last 10 days.

Haley signs executive order appointing Scott to Senate, starts clock for special election
Today, Gov. Nikki Haley signed the executive order appointing U.S. Senator-designate Tim Scott to replace the seat vacated by Jim DeMint at the end of the year, also laying out the timeline for the special election to replace him in the U.S. House. The race to succeed Scott is already a crowded mostly-Republican field of Charleston-area poltiical heavyweights who will face off in party primaries on March 19, with a general election on May 7.
Sources: Associated Press
Related: Thurmond won’t seek 1st District seat
Dozens seek SC-1 seat vacated by Tim Scott

Lawmakers prep for legislative session
State lawmakers will return to Columbia on Tuesday to open the new legislative session, where several critical reforms have already been proposed, from exempting S.C.-made guns from federal regulations to state ethics and campaign finance law reform.
Sources: State campaign funding will face scrutiny in new session (P&C)
Bill would exempt South Carolina from some federal gun regulations (P&C)
Group pushes for state gas tax increase (P&C)
Outlook for gas tax hike may be bleak (FITS News)
Lawmaker seeks to reform state FOIA law (AP)
Proposal would let teachers carry guns on campus (AP)

SPARC to add 310 jobs, invest $11M
Daniel Island software firm SPARC, one of a handful of Charelston-area technology companies fueling the sector’s growth in the region, announced last week that it would add 310 jobs and spend $11 million as it upgraded its facilities.
Sources: Post and Courier

Morris Island Light takes steps toward restoration
Save the Light organizers are prepping the next round of restoration work on the Morris Island Lighthouse off the coast of Morris Island and Folly Beach, the largest undertaking being replacing the 16-story lighthouse’s deteriorating cast iron staircase.
Sources: Post and Courier, Live 5 News

Some North Charleston residents irked over lack of progress on ‘sound walls’
North Charleston residents are frustrated over what they see as stonewalling by state and federal transportation officials as neighbors along I-26 push for the installation of ‘sound wall’ noise abatement measures that would dampen the sounds of traffic.
Sources: Post and Courier

West Ashley Greenway paving working out well
Post and Courier columnist Melanie Balog revisits the West Ashley Greenway after more than 3.2 miles of the pedestrian corridor was paved last year in an effort to better acommodate cyclists and pedestrians.
Post and Courier

Lawmakers seek more info on state website defacement
After a state agency fell victim to a computer security lapse for the third time in 2012, this time defacing the state Department of Employment and Workforce on Dec. 22, lawmakers convening on Columbia for the upcoming legislative session are seeking answers as to how exactly the breach occurred.
Sources: Post and Courier, The State

Contract extension wards off dockworkers strike for now
Dockworkers along the East Coast and the Gulf voted just after Christmas to extend their contract for a little more than a month to temporarily avoid a strike that would have shutdown ports from New England to Texas.
Sources: The State/Associated Press, Charleston Regional Business Journal

Moffly questions North Charleston’s authority in placing cops in local schools
Charleston County School Board member Elizabeth Moffly said last week that she believes North Charleston is overstepping its authority by ordering its police officers be stationed in local elementary schools in response to last month’s Newtown shooting. Moffly said she was concerned that the move might lead to other ‘freedoms to be eroded.’
Sources: Post and Courier

Colonial Lake in line for water quality improvements
The City of Charleston is set to embark on a major project around the manmade Colonial Lake downtown that aims to improve water quality in the lake, which is fed by the Ashley River via a tidal creek.
Sources: Post and Courier

State buys hundreds of new school buses to supplement aging fleet
The state said it is in the process of spending more than $28 million to buy 342 new school buses to be stationed across the state, some replacing buses dating back to the mid-1980s.
Sources: Post and Courier