Editorials from elsewhere
Batterers & guns
(I)t’s good news that the S.C. Senate has taken action to help protect spouses from domestic violence. A bill passed by an overwhelming margin of 38-3 Wednesday to make changes in the law that are much needed, as evidenced by The Post and Courier’s “Till Death Do Us Part” series last year.
Sadly, though, the legislation comes up short by hedging on a key issue. It does not outlaw firearm possession by all who are convicted of domestic violence. …
The three dissenting Senate votes were by Upstate Republicans Lee Bright, Tom Corbin and Shane Martin, who say the measure is an abridgment of the Second Amendment.
But as Sara Barber, executive director of the South Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, said, “This is not about Second Amendment rights. This is about victims’ rights to safety.”
It’s high time victims’ rights are on the front burner for the General Assembly. The Senate has passed a solid bill.
Post & Courier
A reshuffling of the proverbial deck in the search for a new director of the Department of Health and Environmental Control is likely in the best interest of both the agency and the state. …
(I)t wouldn’t have been a waste of time to have a more expansive search process, particularly one geared toward finding someone with more experience in an agency that involves health and environmental policy.
With (Eleanor) Kitzman out of the picture, it would be advantageous for the department’s board to truly refocus its search in such a direction.
This is perhaps the state’s most complex and unwieldy agency. Finding a suitable director requires a thorough and comprehensive search to pick someone with the skills needed to properly serve the agency.
So far, that due diligence has clearly been lacking.
The brazenness of senators who openly hijacked proposals to allow an independent commission to review ethics complaints is stunning. It sends the message that many senators consider themselves a privileged class whose actions relating to their public service should not be subjected to scrutiny by disinterested investigators.
Claims that the problems lie in the House, not the Senate, are preposterous. Nothing about senators makes them immune from ethical lapses. They have the same capacity for breaking the law as House members.
What is needed in both houses is transparency and accountability. The public deserves to know where elected officials get their money and where potential conflicts of interest exist.
And when lawmakers are accused of ethical violations, the public needs the assurance that those accusations will be investigated thoroughly without bias or favoritism.
Food for Thought
• “Those who dare to fail miserably can achieve greatly.”
John F. Kennedy
• “Save me, O God, by thy name, and judge me by thy strength.”