–The agency that oversees Medicaid in South Carolina revealed Thursday that a former employee had illegally transferred the private information of more than 228,000 people to his personal email account. The Department of Health and Human Services said it discovered the breach on April 10… SLED later arrested the employee Christopher Lykes that afternoon. Lykes was also revealed to be a former executive committee member of the Lexington Democratic Party.
–Senators sent to the governor a bill that would require middle and high school teachers to get suicide prevention training as part of the 120 overall credit hours they have to take every five years. The bill, known as the “Jason Flatt Act” seeks to lower South Carolina’s suicide rate by better equipping school faculty to notice warning signs from troubled teens.
–The House unanimously passed a bill that would replace the entire board of trustees at the troubled South Carolina State University. The legislation by Rep. Jerry Govan (D-Orangeburg) would trim the number of seats from 13 to 9, eliminate the at-large trustees, and give alumni hte power to vote for one trustee. If the proposal passes the Senate, it would also require that all existing members be re-approved by the General Assembly this year.
–The House also passed a bill that would make human trafficking a felony in South Carolina. The legislation by Rep. Nelson Hardwick (R-Surfside Beach) would also give prosecutors the power to seize the assets and property of traffickers and require restitution to victims. The national nonprofit Polaris Project has identified South Carolina as one of nine states whose laws do not properly address sex trafficking.
–A Senate panel has made significant changes to a House texting-and-driving bill. Instead of a statewide ban, a Senate Judiciary subcommittee voted to bar texting behind the wheel for teens 18 and under. They even expanded it to say that drivers with a learners permit or restricted license would not be allowed to use a phone at all. The legislation would also make it illegal for any driver to text in a school zone.
–The new director of the state’s environmental agency defended her decision to eliminate nine jobs at the agency’s coastal management division. Department of Health and Environmental Control director Catherine Templeton told the Senate Medical Affairs Committee that most of the positions duplicated others in the overall agency. However, Democratic senators on the committee questioned why the layoffs came so quickly and without regard to natural attrition in the office.
–The son of a state representative pleaded guilty, but mentally ill Wednesday to charges of exposing himself and burglary. A Spartanburg judge sentenced 28-year-old Kevin Parker to time served and five years probation. A doctor testified that Parker suffered from severe cognitive dysfunction, stemming from head trauma that Parker suffered as a child. He is the son of Rep. Steve Parker (R-Boiling Springs).