Comptroller General Eckstrom to fight state ethics charges
South Carolina Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom is scheduled Wednesday to ask the S.C. Ethics Commission to drop its case against him on charges of using campaign money to attend the 2012 Republican National Convention.
The commission found probable cause in November that the state’s top accountant spent $1,642 from his campaign coffers on the trip to Florida that actually were personal expenses. The commission complaint said Eckstrom had no duties at the convention but went to be with his girlfriend, who was an alternate delegate. He faces six charges of using campaign money for personal expenses.
Eckstrom’s camp has said using campaign money to attend a political event is legal. Eckstrom, who is seeking a fourth four-year term as comptroller general this year, said Tuesday that he is requesting a dismissal on the merits of the case.
16 Truthful Tuesday protesters ticketed for blocking State House garage
Columbia police ticketed 16 Truthful Tuesday protesters for blocking the roadway to the State House garage.
For the third week, protesters who want the state to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, formed a barricade along the driveway on Pendleton Street leading to the garage where many lawmakers enter.
On Tuesday, they knelt and prayed for legislators to find the compassion to extend health insurance to thousands of South Carolinians. Protesters then moved out of the roadway at the request of police and received tickets for obstructing traffic, which carries a fine of nearly $200.
This month, 39 protesters have been arrested or received citations as part of the Truthful Tuesday events.
Bill requiring teaching of cursive writing advances in House
A bill requiring South Carolina’s school districts to teach students how to write in cursive by fifth grade is advancing in the House. A House panel voted 8-0 on Tuesday to send the bill to the full Education Committee.
Sponsoring Rep. Dwight Loftis of Greenville contends students still need handwriting skills despite the increase in digital communications. He says practical uses include being able to write faster than when writing in print.
Tuesday’s primary filings in Richland, Lexington counties
Filing ends March 30 for the June 10 primary election. Previous filings at www.thestate.com/politics.
• S.C. House 71: Nathan Ballentine* (R)
• S.C. House 72: James Smith * (D)
• S.C. House 75: Kirkman Finlay III* (R)
• S.C. House 79: Mia McLeod* (D)
• S.C. House 80: Jimmy Bales* (D)
Lexington Council District 7: Phil Yarborough (R)
• Richland Council District 6: Greg Pearce* (R)
• Richland Council District 11: Norman Jackson* (D)
* Denotes incumbent
Staff writer Andrew Shain and The Associated Press contributed