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FLORENCE, S.C. — West Florence senior Abigail Buddenborg has become the first student in Florence 1 Schools to earn a private pilot license through Advantage Academy’s aviation program.

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The South Carolina lawmakers negotiating big gaps between the House and Senate versions of the state budget have received a big gift as the state's economy continued to do better than predicted. Economists meeting Tuesday predicted that South Carolina can now expect to have about $950 million more in its bank accounts by the end of June from taxes and other revenue. The House and Senate are about $1.3 billion apart on their budget plans with the biggest difference a $1 billion rebate senators want to send back to taxpayers. Senate Finance President Harvey Peeler says lawmakers need to remember it is the people's money. New House Speaker Murrell Smith says the General Assembly needs to prepare for a possible economic downturn.

Federal meteorologists say the Atlantic should expect another extra busy hurricane season this year. Tuesday's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Atlantic hurricane season forecast calls for 14 to 21 named storms, with six to 10 becoming hurricanes. The last six Atlantic hurricane seasons have been above normal, which is a record. Forecasters look at warmer waters, La Nina, climate change, Africa rains and long-term patterns to make this forecast. Ten other outside weather groups also forecast a busier than normal Atlantic hurricane season. There have been more Category 4 and 5 U.S. landfalls in the last five years than the previous 50.

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina's Republican governor has quietly signed into law a bill that would ban transgender students from playing girls' or women's sports in public schools and colleges. Gov. Henry McMaster's signature Monday means South Carolina joins about a dozen other states that have passed similar laws requiring transgender students to compete with the gender listed on their birth certificates. McMaster didn't issue a statement after signing the bill, but said earlier this month he thought "girls ought to play girls and the boys ought to play boys. That's the way we've always done it." Opponents of the law say it singles out students who aren't elite athletes but are just looking for a way to be a regular student.

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The South Carolina lawmakers negotiating big gaps between the House and Senate versions of the state budget have received a big gift as the state's economy continued to do better than predicted. Economists meeting Tuesday predicted that South Carolina can now expect to have about $950 million more in its bank accounts by the end of June from taxes and other revenue. The House and Senate are about $1.3 billion apart on their budget plans with the biggest difference a $1 billion rebate senators want to send back to taxpayers. Senate Finance President Harvey Peeler says lawmakers need to remember it is the people's money. New House Speaker Murrell Smith says the General Assembly needs to prepare for a possible economic downturn.

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