SC State House roundup: Lawmakers call for campaign probe

COLUMBIA, SC — More than a dozen South Carolina General Assembly lawmakers have signed a letter demanding an investigation into a political campaign.

The letter, addressed to Inspector General Brian D. Lamkin, said lawmakers were concerned about campaign events in the June election.

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

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

Representatives Lin Bennett, Vic Dabney, Stewart Jones, Mike Burns, Patrick Haddon, Steven Long, RJ May, Alan Morgan, Ashley Trantham, Adam Morgan, Melissa Oremus signed the letter; and senses Josh Kimbrell, Wes Climer and Dwight Loftis.

Governor signs health services bill

COLUMBIA, SC — Governor Henry McMaster has officially signed a bill that would allow medical professionals to refuse services based on their beliefs.

McMaster signed the Medical Ethics and Diversity Act on Friday.

It allows for what is called “medical conscience rights” in South Carolina. It protects doctors, nurses and medical students from dismissal or punishment for refusing services because of 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, however, does not apply to emergency medical care 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 and welcomes decision

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

The attorneys general said that since the leaked U.S. Supreme Court draft decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, “charities that support pregnant women in need have been burned down and pro-life organizations have been attacked almost daily and terrorized.”

“Acts of terrorism cannot be tolerated and it is the duty of the Ministry of Justice to prosecute these acts to the full extent of the law. The purpose of these pro-life groups is to protect lives and it is high time for the Department of Justice to do the same,” Wilson said.

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

The High Court has ruled that religious schools cannot be excluded from a Maine program that offers tuition assistance for private education.

The decision could make it easier for religious organizations to access taxpayers’ money.

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

The tax relief program will end soon

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) – A relief program to help South Carolina residents during the COVID-19 pandemic is expected to end before July.

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

The relief targeted employees who normally travel out of state for work and have temporarily started working from home during the pandemic. Targeted assistance started in May 2020.

Starting July 1, employers will have to withhold payroll taxes from every employee who works in the state, even those who are still temporarily working in the state due to COVID-19.

Labor agency warns residents of text scam

COLUMBIA, SC – The SC Department of Employment and Manpower is warning residents of a text message scam targeting residents.

Officials said the scam involves the text message pictured below.

According to officials, the link leads to a copycat website that looks exactly like the login screen for DEW’s MyBenefits portal. They added that the actual portal is used by people applying for unemployment insurance benefits.

Anyone who receives this message should not click on the link, officials said. If you entered your login details on this fake site, you need to access your real MyBenefits Portal account, change your login details and make sure your payment details are correct.

Anyone who suspects they may have fallen victim to this scam should report the impersonation to the police and complete identity theft form found on UI Fraud Page.

Copyright 2022 WRDW/WAGT. All rights reserved.

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