One day last week I was pleased to run into Charleston Mayor Joe Riley (one of the finest examples of Joe-ness holding office today) on an elevator downtown. He was in town to lobby the Legislature for his crime bill — of which I had to admit I had not heard (how's that for an awkward avoidance of a dangling preposition?). He was joined by Attorney General Henry McMaster and SLED Chief Reggie Lloyd in pushing the legislation.
By the time we had arrived at his floor, he had given me a brief outline of it. Fortunately, he also had a staffer send me this release about it
, since I wasn't taking notes on the elevator. The group was pushing for legislation that would, among other things:
- Allow law enforcers to search people on probation and parole without warrants.
- Deny bail for repeat offenders.
- Forbid convicted felons to possess handguns or assault weapons.
- Increase the penalty for Assault and Battery With Intent to Kill. (On the elevator, the mayor had said something about S.C. lacking an effective attempted murder statute.)
- Create a separate offense for possessing a firearm while selling, manufacturing, or possessing drugs for distribution.
The mayor seems to be pushing separately (going by the wording on the release), more resources for courts, Solicitor's offices, Probation and Parole, DJJ, and Corrections. Specifically, on that last point, increase funding for drug rehab in prisons.
Most of that stuff makes common sense to me, although as with a lot of things that make sense, I wonder where the money will come from with the state cutting back on everything. Anyway, since I ran into the mayor and he shared these proposals with me, I'm sharing them with you.