SC political briefs: SLED begins investigation of House speaker

March 1, 2013 

Robert Harrell

State police officially have begun investigating an ethics complaint against House Speaker Bobby Harrell, R-Charleston.

State Law Enforcement Division spokesman Thom Berry said Thursday that agents had been assigned to the investigation.

On Feb. 14, Attorney General Alan Wilson forwarded to SLED a complaint accusing Harrell of violating state ethics laws. S.C. Policy Council president Ashley Landess has alleged Harrell used his office to boost his finances by converting campaign funds to his personal use and using undue influence to get a permit for his pharmaceutical business.

The Policy Council also took issue with Harrell appointing his brother to a committee that screens judicial candidates that the Legislature chooses judges from.

Harrell has called the complaint a “baseless” attack driven by a “personal and political vendetta.”

S.C. Senate panel tweaks bill on improving cyber security

A state Senate panel has decided not to create a whole new agency for the state’s cyber security officer.

The subcommittee Thursday amended a bill meant to centralize oversight of state computer systems and prevent another massive breach of taxpayers’ information. It will next meet Tuesday.

Rather than create a Cabinet-level agency, the revised bill puts a chief of computer security in charge of a new division, on the same level as the head of state information technology.

The change follows recommendations from a national group of state computer chiefs.

The measure still creates a new unit within Consumer Affairs to help victims of identity theft. It also would create two separate committees to craft a statewide technology plan and recommend changes in the law to keep up with technology.

Committee on children releases recommendations

Testing students’ readiness for first grade is among the recommendations of a committee that advocates for South Carolina’s children.

The joint Citizens and Legislative Committee on Children released Thursday its priorities for 2013. Its recommendations focus on reducing childhood obesity, injuries and trauma, as well as improving school readiness and increasing immunization coverage.

Other recommendations range from requiring lifeguards at summer camps to anti-sexting legislation that would create a tiered penalty for children under 18 who electronically share sexually explicit photos.

The committee was created to research children’s issues. It consists of three senators, three House members, three residents appointed by the governor and the heads of agencies that deal with children.

The Associated Press

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