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  • Republicans in the South Carolina House plan to meet as soon as they can to figure out how to fight back against President Joe Biden's order that all larger businesses require their employees be vaccinated against COVID-19. House Speaker Jay Lucas sent a letter to his Republican colleagues telling them it goes against every notion of privacy. But Lucas says House Republicans need to respond in a way that is legal since they are out of session. Senate Majority Leader Shane Massey says he thinks Biden's order will be overturned before lawmakers could return. South Carolina is in the bottom 10 in the U.S. in percentage of fully vaccinated people at just under 45%.
  • About 130 Black morticians have died of COVID-19 across the United States. The deaths are particularly notable because of the prominent role that funeral directors have long played in many Black communities. Often admired for their success in business, a number have been elected to political office, served as local power brokers, and helped fund civil rights efforts. Their deaths have left some successors struggling to fill their roles. At the same time, the services they arrange can serve as communal touchstones that draw mourners together. When the pandemic hit, the very closeness that distinguishes Black funerals put morticians at risk.
  • Today at 5:00 - President Biden is set to outline a new "six-pronged" strategy to combat rising coronavirus cases across the country. His remarks come as a surge of new COVID-19 cases has led to rising numbers of hospitalizations and deaths in many states. Watch live here...
  • South Carolina's highest court is considering two challenges to a state rule limiting the ability of school districts to require masks for students and educators. The state Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday over the state legislature's June decision to write a state budget item threatening school districts with withholding state money if they required masks. The city of Columbia and Richland 2 School District both oppose the measure. Their lawyers argued that a mask prohibition doesn't belong in the state budget as state law requires legislation to have one clear subject. Attorneys for the state said lawmakers can ban or allow masks because state funds pay for the salaries of teachers enforcing such mandates.
  • Attorneys general from 20 states have sued President Joe Biden's administration seeking to halt directives that extend federal sex discrimination protections to LGBTQ people, ranging from transgender girls participating in school sports to the use of school and workplace bathrooms that align with a person's gender identity. Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery filed the lawsuit Monday in U.S. District Court in Knoxville, arguing that legal interpretations by the U.S. Department of Education and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission are based on a faulty view of U.S. Supreme Court case law. The Department of Justice did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the lawsuit.
  • Watch live, today at 2:45 p.m. - President Biden addresses the nation after the U.S. completed its withdrawal from Afghanistan, ending America's longest war. More than 123,000 civilians were flown out by the U.S. and its partners as part of the evacuation efforts, and all U.S. service members are now out of the country.
  • The chief contractor at a failed multibillion-dollar project to build two nuclear reactors in South Carolina has agreed to pay more than $20 million as part of a cooperation agreement with federal authorities probing the fiasco. Acting U.S. Attorney Rhett DeHart said Monday that Westinghouse Electric Co. will contribute $21.25 million to a program intended to assist low-income ratepayers affected by the project's failure. The company will also be required to cooperate with federal investigators still probing the company's role in the 2017 debacle at the V.C. Summer plant, which cost ratepayers and investors billions and left nearly 6,000 people jobless. Three top-level executives have pleaded guilty as part of a multi-year federal fraud investigation.
  • States have begun to ramp up the amount of rental assistance reaching tenants but there are still millions of families facing eviction who haven't gotten help. The Treasury Department says just $5.1 billion of the estimated $46.5 billion in federal rental assistance, or only 11%, has been distributed by states and localities through July. Several states, including Virginia and Texas, have been praised for moving quickly to get the federal money out. But there are still plenty of states, from South Carolina to Arizona, who have distributed very little. The concerns about the slow pace intensified Thursday, after the Supreme Court blocked the Biden administration from enforcing a temporary eviction ban put in place because of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • South Carolina's highest court will hear two challenges to the state's refusal to let school districts require masks for students and teachers this week. The state Supreme Court has set aside two hours to hear the cases Tuesday. South Carolina lawmakers passed an item in the state budget in June threatening school districts with losing state money if they required masks. The local governments involved in the cases are Columbia and Richland 2 schools. They will likely argue that requiring or banning masks has no place in the state budget, a bill whose purpose is to raise and spend money. South Carolina law requires legislation to have one clear subject.
  • The Medical University of South Carolina wants lawmakers to give the hospital system $400 million of federal COVID-19 relief money to expand mental health therapy and heart and respiratory treatment across the state. MUSC officials told a Senate panel reviewing how the state should spend the $2.5 billion of federal help that they would partner with other hospital systems so the new programs could help everyone in South Carolina.