S.C. State House roundup: lawmakers seek campaign inquiry

South Carolina State House
South Carolina State House(Gray)
Published: Jun. 21, 2022 at 3:11 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. - More than a dozen legislators from the South Carolina General Assembly signed off on a letter urging an investigation into a political campaign.

The letter, addressed to Inspector General Brian D. Lamkin, said the legislators were concerned over campaign events during the June election.

“On Monday, June 6, Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman and political candidate Kathy Maness used the South Carolina Department of Education and James B. Edwards Elementary School facilities to host purely political press conferences,” said the letter.

Under South Carolina law individuals may not use public funds, property or time to influence an election.

Signing the letter were Reps. Lin Bennett, Vic Dabney, Stewart Jones, Mike Burns, Patrick Haddon, Steven Long, R.J. May, Alan Morgan, Ashley Trantham, Adam Morgan, Melissa Oremus; and Sens. Josh Kimbrell, Wes Climer and Dwight Loftis.

Governor signs bill on health care services

COLUMBIA, S.C. - Gov. Henry McMaster has officially signed a bill into law that would allow health care professionals to deny service on the basis of their beliefs.

McMaster signed the Medical Ethics and Diversity Act on Friday.

It authorizes what’s known as “medical rights of conscience” in South Carolina. It protects doctors, nurses and medical students from being fired or punished for opting out of services based on their “religious, moral, or ethical beliefs or principles.”

State law already protects doctors, nurses and technicians from refusing to perform abortions - but the Medical Ethics and Diversity Act adds medical students to that list.

The new law does not, however, apply to emergency medical treatment that is required by federal law. The law also states that practitioners are not allowed to refuse services on the basis of race.

Attorney general sends letter, praises ruling

COLUMBIA, S.C. - Attorney General Alan Wilson and 18 other attorneys general sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland Tuesday, asking him to investigate alleged violence against anti-abortion organizations.

The attorneys general said that since the leak of the US Supreme Court draft decision to overturn Roe v. Wade “charities that support pregnant mothers in need have been firebombed and pro-life organizations have been attacked almost daily and terrorized.”

“Acts of terrorism cannot be tolerated and it is the duty of the Department of Justice to prosecute such acts to the full extent of the law. The goal of these pro-life groups is to protect lives and it’s past time the Department of Justice does the same,” Wilson said.

Also Tuesday, Wilson praised a U.S. Supreme Court decision dealing with state scholarship money going to religious schools.

The high court ruled religious schools can’t be excluded from a Maine program that offers tuition aid for private education.

The decision could ease religious organizations’ access to taxpayer money.

“This is a victory for school choice and religious education,” Wilson said.

Tax relief program set to end soon

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - A relief program aimed to help South Carolina residents during the COVID-19 pandemic is scheduled to end before July.

The South Carolina Department of Revenue said relief offered to out-of-state employers on the state’s requirements for tax withholding will end on June 30.

The relief was aimed at employees who normally traveled out of state for work and temporarily began working from home during the pandemic. The targeted relief began in May 2020.

Starting July 1, employers will need to withhold taxes from wages for every employee who work in the state, even those still temporarily working in the state because of COVID-19.

Labor agency warns residents of text message scam

COLUMBIA, S.C. - The S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce is warning residents about a text scam targeting residents.

Officials said the scam involves the text message pictured below.

According to officials, the link goes to a copycat website that looks exactly like the log-in screen for DEW’s MyBenefits Portal. They added that the real portal is used by individuals filing for Unemployment Insurance benefits.

Any person who receives this message should not click the link, according to officials. If you entered your log-in information on this fake site, you should access your real MyBenefits Portal account, change your log-in information and make sure your payment information is correct.

Anyone concerned that they were a victim of this scam should report identity theft police and fill out the ID theft form found on the UI Fraud page.

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