MORNING BUZZ: More calls for DSS reforms + McConnell shies away from double duty

Posted by ANDREW SHAIN and JAMIE SELF on March 27, 2014 

Senator Joel Lourie is emotional in expressing his frustration with DSS during South Carolina DSS Oversight committee Wednesday, in an ongoing probe into the child welfare agency.

TIM DOMINICK — tdominick@thestate.com Buy Photo

A mother whose infant daughter died in an illegal Greenville day-care center joined child-welfare advocates and a coroner Wednesday in urging a state Senate panel to reform the S.C. Department of Social Services. Michael Watts, a former Social Services caseworker, said the high number of cases that social workers must oversee could lead to abuse cases falling through the cracks.

Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell weighed whether he could remain in office for several months while starting his new job as president of the College of Charleston, but he said Wednesday that he does not think he will try to work double duty.

Convicted swindler and former Lexington lawyer Richard Breibart contributed heavily to state and local politicians in recent years, during the same time he was stealing millions from clients and taking money from other clients and failing to do work for them.

Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell warned lawmakers Wednesday that a failure to prepare for South Carolina’s oncoming “gray tsunami” will cause a budget crisis and human tragedies.

Turmoil over the hiring of Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell as the College of Charleston's next president continued Wednesday, with a group of students staging a sit-in and the faculty considering taking a no-confidence vote against the board, The (Charleston) Post and Courier reports.

A bill that that would allow children with severe epilepsy to obtain an oil extracted from marijuana to help control their seizures passed the state Senate on Wednesday, after an amendment allowing doctors to prescribe the oil was approved earlier in the day.

BMW has put $6.3 billion into manufacturing luxury cars in South Carolina’s Upstate, and it has put close to 8,000 people to work in the state in the past two decades.

Who's filed: Updated list of candidates entering federal, statewide and S.C. House elections. Filing ends noon Sunday.

What's happening in the S.C. State House today:

• A bill that would require prescriptions to buy cold medicines containing an ingredient used to make methamphetamine is on the agenda of a Senate Medical Affairs subcommittee. Supporters say efforts to track drug purchases and limit access to the drug have not stopped meth labs, but encouraged a cottage industry of meth cooks paying people to buy the ingredient to the highly addictive drug. Opponents say the bill would inconvenience law-abiding consumers. (9 a.m., Gressette 209)

• The House Judiciary criminal laws subcommittee has on its agenda a bill that would make the "knockout game" -- a game where the player punches someone with the intent of knocking them unconscious -- a felony offense equal to assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature. (9 a.m., Blatt Room 516)

Who's schmoozing lawmakers today: S.C. Association of School Administrators is hosting a breakfast for lawmakers, 8-10 a.m. (Blatt Room 112)

State House today

Joint meetings

• 10:50 a.m.: Legislative Audit Council Nominating Committee (State House, 3rd Floor Conference Room / Agenda)

• Upon adjournment of both House and Senate: Sentencing Reform Oversight Committee (Gressette Room 308 / Agenda)

S.C. Senate

Full body meets at 11 a.m.

• 9 a.m.: Judiciary Subcommittee on S.1086 (Gressette Room 407 / Agenda)

• 9 a.m.: Labor, Commerce and Industry Committee (Gressette Room 308 / Agenda)

• 9 a.m.: Medical Affairs Subcommittee on Reg. 4424, Reg. 4429, Reg. 4430, Reg. 4433 and on S.447, S.1012 and S.1056 (Gressette Room 209 / Agenda)

• 9:30 a.m.: Finance K-12 Education Subcommittee Budget Hearing (Gressette Room 307 / Agenda)

• 9:30 a.m.: Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee (Gressette Room 207 / Agenda)

• 9:30 a.m.: Judiciary Subcommittee on S.536 (Gressette Room 105 / Agenda)

• 10 a.m.: Finance Higher Education Budget Subcommittee (Gressette Room 406 Agenda Available / Agenda)

• 10 a.m.: Judiciary Subcommittee on S.865 (Gressette Room 408 / Agenda)

S.C. House

Full body meets at 10 a.m.

• 8 a.m.: Teen Pact South Carolina (Blatt Rooms 108 and 110 / Agenda)

• 8:30 a.m.: Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs Committee (Blatt Room 410 / Agenda)

• 8:30 a.m.: Kershaw County Junior Leadership (Blatt Room 321)

• 9 a.m.: Judiciary Criminal Laws Subcommittee (Blatt Room 516 / Agenda)

• 9 a.m.: LCI Regulations Subcommittee (Blatt Room 403 / Agenda)

• 9 a.m.: Judiciary Constitutional Laws Subcommittee (Blatt Room 511 / Agenda)

• 9 a.m.: Legislative Group (Rep. Samuel Rivers) (Blatt Room 318)

• 9 a.m.: Judiciary Special Laws Subcommittee (Blatt Room 515-A / Agenda)

• 10 a.m.: South Carolina Association of School Administrators (Blatt Room 305)

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