- Associated Press - Thursday, May 10, 2018

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - The Latest on the final day of the regular session for the South Carolina General Assembly (all times local):

5:25 p.m.

South Carolina voters will be asked if they want to continue electing the Education Superintendent or make the position an office appointed by the governor.

Five minutes before Thursday’s legislative session ended, the Senate voted 38-6 on the constitutional amendment that would be placed on the ballot in November.

If voters approve the amendment in the general election, and the General Assembly ratifies it, then the governor would begin picking the education leader in 2022 or whenever the office becomes vacant.



It would be the third office taken out of voters hands in recent years. Both the lieutenant governor and adjutant general are now appointed.

___

5:05 p.m.

South Carolina’s General Assembly session has ended.

Both the House and Senate gaveled out at 5 p.m. Thursday, as required by law.

One bill passed in the final minutes will allow the governor to appoint the state education superintendent, who is currently elected. Voters would have to approve that constructional amendment in November.

Over the final two days of the session, the General Assembly passed dozens of other bills like banning drones from flying near prisons, increasing penalties for human trafficking and allowing school districts to use marching band for PE credits.

Lawmakers will come back to Columbia at least twice more. One special session is set for May 23 and 24 to deal with the state’s $8 billion budget, bills involving two nuclear plants no longer being built and bills in conference committees.

A second special session is set for June 27 and 28 for similar matters.

___

3:40 p.m.

The pressure is on for South Carolina lawmakers to pass key nuclear legislation before a session deadline, and senators made a decisive vote to help make that happen.

The Senate voted 43-0 Thursday to pass two bills that would repeal the Base Load Review Act and create a consumer advocate to work on behalf of ratepayers.

The BLRA allowed South Carolina Electric and Gas Co. and state-owned utility Santee Cooper to increase rates for their customers to cover the cost of the failed $9 billion V.C. Summer Nuclear reactors project.

The bills now head to the House for approval.

The House and Senate may take up other bills about the failed reactors in special sessions in May and June.

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