LEGISLATIVE ROUNDUP 

• Legislation has been introduced to mandate that 11-year-old girls be vaccinated for HPV, or the human papillomavirus. The disease, sometimes sexually transmitted, is the primary cause of cervical cancer. It's estimated that the vaccine can prevent most cases if administered before girls become sexually active. While South Carolina is ranked third in the number of cases of cervical cancer, supporters of the bill, including Rep. Wallace Scarborough (R-James Island), are facing opposition from abstinence groups that suggest reducing girls' risk for the virus would encourage them to have sex. The bill (H. 3136) has a "religious exception" and is contingent on state and federal funding for the program.

• Rep. Leon Stavrinakis (D-West Ashley) fulfilled campaign promises to introduce bills requiring districts to spend at least 65 percent of their operating expenses in the classroom (H.3348) and another bill to protect teachers from violence in the classroom (H.3347). Both of the bills, similar to other legislation that had been previously introduced, have received strong support from Democrats and Republicans in the Statehouse.

• Sen. Ford (D-Charleston) introduced legislation last month to create civil unions in South Carolina (S. 326), granting the same rights and responsibilities of marriage to same-sex couples. Hey, it's a start.

• As more insurance companies are pulling policies off the coast, State Senate leader Glenn McConnell (R-Charleston) and others are fulfilling a promise to address the slimming options and skyrocketing prices facing coastal homeowners. Last week, Sen. Ray Cleary (R-Georgetown) introduced a bill that would create a Hurricane Damage Mitigation Program (S. 346) to "encourage home improvement that mitigates the home's insurance vulnerability."

• Other recent bills include a House bill introduced by Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-Laurens) that would require DUI offenders to install an ignition breath analyzer in their vehicles (H. 3344). Another House bill that was approved and moved on to the Senate would require doctors to write prescriptions legibly (H. 3414). --Greg Hambrick


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