September 1, 2014

SC Big Story: Sex ed classes could no longer be abstinence-only

State Sen. Thomas McElveen speaks during a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting on Tuesday (Image: SCETV)

State Sen. Thomas McElveen speaks during a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting on Tuesday (Image: SCETV)

A roundup of what’s making news in South Carolina state government

– The House Education and Public Works Committee on Tuesday advanced legislation that would expand South Carolina’s sex education curriculum beyond abstinence only. The proposal by Rep. B.R. Skelton, R-Six Mile, would require schools to teach “medically accurate” health information as part of the course. Skelton said he wants students to learn better ways to avoid pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. The proposal passed 10-6, with opponents saying abstinence education is the best way to prevent pregnancy… The education committee also advanced a bill Tuesday that would require students to learn cursive and memorize multiplication tables (background).

– State Rep. Jerry Govan, D-Orangeburg, quietly filed his name to run for South Carolina Superintendent of Education last weekend. On Tuesday, he spoke with South Carolina Radio Network about his candidacy, saying his career in education and 22 years in the House gives him the experience to be an “advocate” for schools and students in the state. Govan is one of four Democrats (and 13 overall candidates) seeking the position.

– Officials told senators Tuesday that,  more than a year after the state’s tax collection agency was hacked, South Carolina has no consistent plan for computer security among its state agencies. The State newspaper reported some senators said Tuesday they want to make cyber-security mandatory for state agencies. Senators say they want agencies to show how they are following guidelines created by the Budget & Control Board. Budget and Control Board director Marcia Adams told senators she doesn’t know how many agencies are using available computer security measures.

– The state Department of Social Services has been under scrutiny the past few months, as state  Senate hearings have chronicled repeated problems concerning the safety of children in its care. The chairman of a committee investigating DSS issues, Sen. Tom Young, R-Aiken, has now introduced legislation that tries to improve how the agency reports child deaths. Another proposal would require the state to toughen home daycare licensing and regulation. DSS director Lillian Koller is scheduled to appear before senators in an April 16 hearing.

– A special Senate subcommittee looking at the state’s $28 billion pension fund issued its final report Tuesday to the Senate Finance Committee, finding no wrongdoing. The panel spent months hearing 12 hours of sworn testimony and looked at numerous documents for the Retirement Systems Investment Commission after complaints from State Treasurer Curtis Loftis that the commission was paying high investment fees, yet getting comparatively low returns.