SC Politics

March 21, 2014 

Selling The Capitol

The South Carolina Statehouse in Columbia, S.C., is seen on Jan. 25, 2014.

BRUCE SMITH — AP

Bill on limited use of cannabis oil advances

A bill that seeks to allow children with severe epilepsy to legally use oil derived from marijuana has advanced to the Senate floor, but it’s so restrictive, supporters say it won’t help those for whom it’s written.

The Senate Medical Affairs Committee approved Thursday allowing use of cannabidiol, or CBD oil, but only as part of clinical trials testing federally approved drugs.

Sen. Tom Davis said he wanted to allow wider use of CBD oil to control seizures. But the South Carolina Medical Association and State Law Enforcement Division raised concerns about purity of oils not controlled by the Food and Drug Administration, and he knew the bill stood no chance with their opposition.

Panel chief: Expect another DSS hearing next week

Sen. Tom Young said Thursday that his special panel looking into issues at the S.C. Department of Social Services plans to hold another meeting next week after hearing testimony on alleged abuses and mismanagement at the agency on Wednesday.

The hearing would be the panel’s fourth since convening this year after a series of deaths last year among children who had some involvement with DSS.

On Thursday, senators took to the floor to vent about DSS director Lillian Koller not testifying before the panel. Koller’s office has said she could not testify under doctor’s orders after suffering a stroke in December. Koller has returned to work and attended public events, which has frustrated lawmakers. Two Democratic senators have called for Koller’s ouster.

Young, R-Aiken, said he was told by Gov. Nikki Haley’s office that Koller could be available to testify within two weeks, earlier than original expectations.

“We are not going to stop,” Young said. “If we step on some toes, then so be it.”

Allowing cameras in S.C. nursing homes stalls

A bill giving families the ability to electronically monitor their loved ones in South Carolina’s nursing homes stalled Thursday.

The Senate Medical Affairs Committee was evenly divided on the bill, with a 7-7 vote preventing its advancement to the Senate floor. So it was returned to subcommittee for more work, a move that likely means its demise.

The bill would require nursing homes to allow residents or their families to install a camera in their room and pay any monitoring costs.

Its sponsor, Sen. Paul Thurmond, said families should have the opportunity to check in on loved ones to ensure they’re not being abused or neglected.

Thursday’s primary filings in Richland, Lexington, Kershaw counties

Filing ends March 30 for the June 10 primary election. Previous filings at www.thestate.com/politics

S.C. House 39: Ralph Kennedy* (R)

S.C. House 73: Christopher Hart* (D)

S.C. House 76: Leon Howard* (D)

Kershaw County sheriff: Jim Matthews* (R)

* Denotes incumbent

The Associated Press and staff writers Andrew Shain Tim Flach and Dawn Hinshaw contributed.

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