— As the budget debate heated up in the Senate, the state’s probation agency met resistance against its request for an extra $1.4 million, The State newspaper reports. Some legislators accuse the Department of Probation, Pardon, and Parole (PPP) of misleading them about available money on hand. PPP officials say they need the additional money to keep up with their increasing workload.
— A prominent Democratic senator joined with the State Treasurer to request that the General Assembly set aside $200,000 for victims of the Department of Revenue hack last fall. The fund would be meant for those South Carolinians who can show the theft of their personal information led to fraudulent activity in their names. Sen. Vincent Sheheen (D-Camden), who is running for governor, is asking that the fund be created by the state budget. Treasurer Curtis Loftis volunteered his office to oversee the fund.
— Meanwhile, a state senator is criticizing the Department of Revenue for how it paid its clean-up bills after last year’s hack. The Associated Press reports Sen. Shane Massey (R-Edgefield) said the Budget & Control Board was wrong to approve a $20 million loan from the state’s insurance reserves. The money was used to pay consultants, upgrade equipment, and for victims’ credit monitoring services. Massey said such spending decisions should be made by the Legislature.
— The Senate also voted to suspend a law punishing drivers who don’t take an eye exam every five years. Department of Motor Vehicles officials say the law is not being enforced and most drivers are not even aware of it— they instead do their eye test when renewing their license every 10 years. Sen. Larry Grooms (R-Bonneau) convinced his peers to suspend the law next year while he and others work on a permanent solution.
— A bill that would have given the Secretary of State authority over elections in South Carolina stalled in a House committee Tuesday, Patch Politics reports. The bill, which failed to pass in a 12-12 vote, was a response to the Richland County ballot controversy last year. In that case, missteps by county officials caused enormous delays on Election Day. However, many legislators were nervous about disrupting a system they believed worked most of the time.
— The House and Senate on Tuesday honored plans to build a new Medal of Honor Museum in Mount Pleasant. Both chambers passed a resolution expressing support for the proposed museum, which organizers hope to build within the next five years. There to accept the resolution was the museum’s top spokesman (and Medal of Honor recipient) Ret. Gen. James E. Livingston.
— The new president of SC State University met with members of the Legislative Black Caucus Tuesday to discuss his plans for the school, WLTX-TV reports. Thomas Elzey will have to take over a college widely seen as dysfunctional after its previous president resigned and its former board of trustees chairman was arrested. The current Citadel executive takes his new post on June 15.
— March of Dimes volunteers gathered at the Statehouse Tuesday to push for heart screenings for newborns. The organization says the screenings are non-invasive and painless and can help the estimated 5,000 infants born each year with heart disease. Currently, South Carolina screens for 31 conditions.