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Republicans revise charter amendment

ATLANTA — House Republicans plan to introduce a new version of a constitutional amendment allowing the state to create charter schools that aims to address concerns from local school districts about funding.

According to documents obtained Thursday by The Associated Press from sponsors of the legislation, House Speaker Pro Tem Jan Jones has added language guaranteeing that cash-strapped schools will not see reduced funding if the state creates charter schools. The amendment is an attempt to appease Democrats, who mounted enough opposition last week to prevent the measure from passing in the House.

House Majority Whip Edward Lindsey, Jones and other sponsors of the bill did not say when they plan to bring the constitutional amendment up for another vote in the House. The Senate has introduced its own version of the legislation as a safeguard in case the measure fails again in the House.

Bill OKs diverting water to Atlanta

ATLANTA — Once again, Georgia lawmakers are debating whether they can solve Atlanta’s water problems by diverting water heading to the Tennessee River and shipping it south.

Rep. Jay Neal urged a House subcommittee to support legislation making it legal to capture water in Georgia that is flowing across the state’s border into the Tennessee River, collect it in abandoned rock quarries and ship it south through a pipe system to the Atlanta area. A resolution asking for a study passed the House last year but failed in the state Senate.

Senate approves plan for overhaul

COLUMBIA — South Carolina senators unanimously approved what they called the largest overhaul of state government in decades.

Thursday’s 40-0 vote returns to the House a much-amended bill abolishing the Budget and Control Board and putting many of its duties under the governor’s jurisdiction.

The House approved a different version last year. The bill will likely end up in a committee of House and Senate members to iron out differences.

Supporters say it streamlines and modernizes state government. Much of the debate involved concerns about consolidating too much power under one person – the governor. But senators say their version provides greater accountability and gives more responsibility to both the executive and legislative branches.

In other news

OPPONENTS OF national education standards asked South Carolina senators Thursday to block implementation of the math and reading curriculum, while educators around the state argued against putting the brakes on already-approved standards they believe will benefit students. State Sen. Mike Fair’s proposal would block standards known as Common Core, which South Carolina’s education board adopted in July 2010, after following approval by the Education Oversight Committee.

A SOUTH CAROLINA legislative panel on Thursday advanced a bill to prohibit state money from being used for sex-change surgeries for inmates – a move that opponents said brings them one step closer to a lawsuit challenging the legislation.

– Associated Press


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