— An information technology expert told senators Tuesday that South Carolina could be a new national role model in its efforts to improve cyber-security at various state agencies. Doug Robinson, the executive director of the National Association of State Chief Information Officers, testified before the Senate Finance Committee Tuesday. He said South Carolina’s response to last fall’s data breach at the state Department of Revenue created an opportunity for a new national model. Robinson said he liked the effort to create a new agency devoted solely to cyber-security.
— Gov. Nikki Haley has issued a new executive order that requires state agencies to review their regulations and eliminate any they believe impede business growth in South Carolina. Her order also creates a new task force that is responsible for finding possible regulations to eliminate. Agencies must report to the task force by May 15 and the group’s recommendations must be finalized by November 15.
— A proposed constitutional amendment that would ask South Carolina voters if they wish to legalize raffles is headed to the Senate floor. The Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approved a bill Tuesday that would allow schools, churches, and nonprofit groups to hold up to four raffles each year. Raffles are technically legal under the state’s constitution. While a group of senators has tried to end the ban for several years now, it appears they may have the votes to actually pass the bill in 2013. In previous years, opponents have worried the bill’s language would unintentionally create a backdoor for other forms of illegal gambling.
— The committee also advanced a bill that would expand those people who are required to install a breathalyzer in their car after a DUI conviction. “Ignition interlock” devices will not allow a car to start unless the driver first passes the test. Currently, state law requires the device to be installed in the cars of repeat offenders, but new legislation would expand the program to include first-time offenders who record a 0.12 blood-alcohol content or higher. However one senator, Sen. Gerald Malloy (D-Darlington) objected to the bill, who believed it too much to force the devices on first-time offenders.
— A House budget subcommittee on Monday moved to stop colleges and universities (specifically Clemson University) from using the state plane to recruit athletes. State Rep. Jim Merrill (R-Charleston) proposed the ban after learning that Clemson coaches were using the plane for recruiting trips. The school reimburses the state for the flights. The issue flared up after a Clemson coach mentioned a flight on Twitter. The only member of the subcommittee to oppose the move was Rep. B.R. Skelton (R-Pickens), who represents Clemson in the Statehouse.
— The same panel also endorsed a possible plan to privatize the state’s program for sexually violent predators, The State newspaper reports. The program, which is run by the state Department of Mental Health, keeps sexually violent predators in prison past their release date if they’re deemed to be a threat to the community. The program has rapidly grown in the past five years, along with its costs. The proposal floated on Monday would allow a private firm to house the inmates, allowing the state to avoid the immediate capital costs as it expands the program.
— One of South Carolina’s most famous civil rights icons will be the first person honored with a specialized license plate. The plate memorializing Mary McLeod Bethune was unveiled in a Statehouse ceremony Tuesday. Bethune is best known as an educator who helped start many schools, including Bethune-Cookman College in Daytona Beach, FL. Money raised by the plates will go towards a new museum in Bethune’s hometown of Mayesville, SC.