Latest South Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 9:20 p.m. EDT

VIRUS OUTBREAK-SOUTH CAROLINA

Amid flurry of SC cancellations, Senate will keep meeting

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The president of the South Carolina Senate says the chamber plans to meet next week amid a flurry of other cancellations in response to the new coronavirus. Sen. Harvey Peeler said Thursday it would send a mixed message to say don't panic and follow good hygiene and then close the Senate. The South Carolina House is not meeting next week, but that was a planned break after the chamber finished the state budget. On Thursday, Gov. Henry McMaster asked lawmakers to release $45 million to state health officials as soon as possible for respond to the virus. South Carolina announced two additonal cases of the virus Thursday, bringing the total number to 12.

COAL ASH-SOUTH CAROLINA

SC senator wants to charge $140 million to take TVA coal ash

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A South Carolina senator has filed a bill that he says would stop the Tennessee Valley Authority from moving millions of tons of coal ash to his district. The authority announced last week that it was considering landfills in South Carolina, Tennessee, Mississippi, Georgia and Alabama for the coal ash. The toxic material is being removed from the old Allen Fossil Plant in Memphis, Tennessee. Sen. Thomas McElveen's bill would charge $30 a ton, which would cost the TVA about $140 million. The Democrat from Sumter says rural landfills often get stuck with society's most dangerous waste without proper compensation.

GUNSHOT WOUND-CHILD

Police: Mom charged after 3-year-old shoots, wounds himself

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Authorities in South Carolina say a mother has been arrested after her 3-year-old son shot and wounded himself when he found an unsecured gun. Destiny Wise was charged Wednesday with unlawful conduct toward a child. Columbia police say 22-year-old Wise left her son alone in a bedroom within reach of a loaded gun. Police say the toddler picked up the gun and it discharged, shooting him in the head. Police Chief William Holbrook announced the child is showing signs of improvement after having surgery. Wise's bond was set at $20,000. It's unclear whether she has an attorney.

TEACHER RALLY

South Carolina district closing for teachers to attend rally

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A school district has canceled classes for one day later this month so that teachers can attend a rally at the South Carolina Statehouse. Chester County Schools released a statement saying that many teachers had requested a personal day March 24 to attend the SC for Ed rally. Students and staff will make up the day on Monday, April 13. The State newspaper reports that no other districts have announced plans as of Tuesday to cancel classes for this year's rally. Several districts closed for a similar rally last year. SC for Ed says teachers are calling for smaller class sizes, an increase in the money the state gives districts and fewer standardized tests.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-PARENTS

Talking to kids about virus? Experts say be calm and honest

As more schools announce closures and cancel events, parents are having to decide how to talk to their children about the coronavirus. Some parents say they're checking in daily, while others said they're limiting conversation out of concern it may make their children anxious. Child psychology experts' advice is to be reassuring, focus on proactive steps and do research to truthfully answer their questions. One expert stresses that parents should not collude in their child's anxiety by refusing to go outside or by buying face masks. “And I don't need a sniffle to turn into them worrying about dying.”

AP-US-SEX-EDUCATION-LAWSUIT

State agrees to ignore law on gay relationships in sex ed

South Carolina education officials have agreed not to enforce part of their own state law that bans sex education teachers from mentioning any relationships other than heterosexual ones — unless the talk involves sexually transmitted diseases. Civil rights groups last month sued the state, saying the law violated the U.S. Constitution. They also say it led to a hostile classroom climate that fostered bullying of students who aren't heterosexual. A federal judge on Wednesday signed a consent agreement reached between the plaintiffs and the state, in which both sides agree not to enforce the contentious requirement. State officials had no immediate comment.