A daily review of what’s making news in South Carolina state government.
— Members of the House on Thursday approved legislation that would require the state comply with national REAL ID standards, but they warned quick action is needed to avoid millions of residents suddenly being unable to use their driver’s licenses at government buildings, military bases or airports. Beginning June 6, any South Carolina residents seeking to enter a federal building or military base will no longer be able to use their state driver’s license unless lawmakers act — and must instead use a second form of federally-recognized identification like a passport or military ID. Starting in January, residents will no longer be able to use their state ID cards to travel on commercial airlines. The measure will head to the Senate after another procedural vote next week.
— A House panel advanced a bill that would create a study committee charged with reviewing South Carolina’s juvenile justice laws, including the controversial “disturbing schools” law. The Charleston Post and Courier reports the House Criminal Laws Subcommittee voted to create a 10-member committee of House and Senate members that would review and recommend ways to reduce the “school-to-prison pipeline” some advocacy groups say exist for at-risk students at South Carolina schools. The measure heads to the House Judiciary Committee next week.
— A Senate subcommittee approved legislation Thursday that would loosen alimony requirements in the future. The measure would give Family Court judges more discretion in cases dealing with how much individuals can be ordered to pay former spouses money after a divorce. The measure makes it easier for judges to not extend alimony for a partner’s entire lifetime. It also would allow for altering alimony orders if someone’s financial circumstances change. The measure next heads to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
— A Senate panel discussed potential alternative ways to perform executions on Thursday, as a corrections subommittee noted the state has run out of the drugs it uses for lethal injections. Since 2013, the state has had no way of executing any of the 38 inmates on death row unless they choose to die by electrocution. At issue is that pharmacies which once mixed the drugs have stopped the practice following public pressure. Committee members floated the ideas of of morphine or firing squads. However, state prisons chief Bryan Stirling instead recommended a “shield law” which would allow pharmacies to compound the fatal drugs anonymously.
— Gov. Henry McMaster issued his first two vetoes this week since taking over the state’s highest office. Both meeasures were minor local legislation that generated little controversy at the time. One proposal would have allowed the city of Camden to annex an old, blighted shopping center just outside its town limits. The other would have extended the terms of Florence County School District 3 members from three years to four. In his veto messages, McMaster argued both proposals were “unconstitutional” intervention by the state legislature into local matters. Legislators have not yet voted to override or sustain the vetoes.