SC political briefs: House sends texting ban back to committee

February 7, 2013 

— A bill that would make texting while driving illegal was sent back to committee Wednesday as House members sidestepped voting on it.

Proposed by state Rep. Don Bowen, R-Anderson, the bill would outlaw using electronic communication devices while driving and impose penalties when texting leads to traffic violations or accidents.

The penalties proposed include a fine of up to $5,000 and mandatory imprisonment of up to five years in an accident that results in great bodily injury. If cases of a death, the bill proposes a fine of up to $10,000 and mandatory imprisonment of up to 10 years.

Rep. Chris Murphy, R-Dorchester, made the motion to send the bill to the Judiciary Committee where the penalties could be evaluated.

To coincide with the bill coming before the House, AT&T set up a simulator Wednesday in the State House lobby to demonstrate the dangers of texting while driving.

Jamie Self

Raffles could become legal

Nonprofits legally could hold raffles under legislation advancing in the state Senate.

A Senate Judiciary panel voted Wednesday to allow schools, churches and other nonprofits to hold a limited number of raffles yearly. That is, if voters approve changing the state Constitution to allow it. The panel approved a separate measure that puts that question on 2014 ballots.

The only raffle currently legal in South Carolina is the state lottery.

Still, raffles are held regularly across the state anyway. Enforcement of the ban is selective, depending largely on whether someone complains.

The Associated Press

Burns wins House primary runoff

Voters in northern Greenville County have selected Mike Burns of Travelers Rest as the Republican candidate for a vacant S.C. House seat.

Burns got nearly 55 percent of the vote against Chris Sullivan of Travelers Rest in Tuesday’s voting.

There is no Democratic candidate. Greenville County elections director Conway Belangia says Burns will be sworn into office unless someone announces a write-in campaign by Feb. 21.

The special election was necessary because state Rep. Tom Corbin, R-Travelers Rest, won a Senate seat as well as re-election to the House District 17 seat in November. Corbin entered the Senate race after state Sen. Phillip Shoopman, R-Greer, decided to withdraw after the filing period closed.

The Associated Press

House advances bill on control of court dockets

The S.C. House has approved a bill returning control of court dockets to prosecutors.

The bill approved 96-14 Wednesday adds protections to solicitors’ control. It removes the word “exclusively” from state law. It also specifies prosecutors’ management of the docket can’t interfere with anyone’s rights to a speedy and public trial.

Amendments approved during floor debate added other protections. Defendants could get a hearing before a judge if a trial hasn’t been scheduled within 180 days of an indictment. Another provision is meant to ensure an indictment isn’t held up.

Local prosecutors long have decided when to call cases to court. But in November, the state Supreme Court ruled that law is unconstitutional. Public defenders successfully argued the law violates the separation of powers.

The Associated Press

The State is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service