Across South Carolina

Senators back collards as official vegetable

COLUMBIA --- South Carolina legislators gave the lowly collard green its due Tuesday when the Senate agreed to make it the official state vegetable.

Frequently boiled and traditionally a charm for wealth in the New Year, the green first put on Southern tables by slaves would join dozens of other "official" things the state recognizes.

Not everyone was biting at the veggie proposal. The 30-12 vote showed there were collard green doubters, including Sen. Greg Ryberg, an Aiken Republican and Wisconsin transplant.

"Was there competition?" he asked.

The legislation needs a final vote today before heading to the House.

Hilton Head receives $350,000 to end suit

HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. --- The Town of Hilton Head Island is getting about $350,000 after a court settlement with a dozen online travel sites over a dispute about local accommodation taxes.

The town and other South Carolina municipalities sued Expedia, Orbitz, Travelocity.com and other sites, accusing the companies of not collecting the correct amount of accommodation taxes used for tourism marketing and other tourist expenses.

The state Supreme Court ruled this year that taxes must be collected on the total amount charged by the booking sites, including fees and charges. The sites had been forwarding taxes based on net room rates.

Mayor Drew Laughlin said the ruling expedited the settlement.

-- Associated Press