SC House panel advances ethics reform package

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COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A South Carolina House panel has advanced a bill that increases politicians' income disclosure, steps up penalties for ethics violations and eliminates legislative ethics panels.

House Majority Leader Bruce Bannister called the measure approved Tuesday by his Judiciary subcommittee a good compromise of various ethics reform plans. The full committee takes it up Wednesday. The House hopes to move the reform plan to the Senate by the May 1 crossover deadline, so it has a chance of passing this year.

The bill would abolish House and Senate ethics committees that currently handle ethics complaints against their own members. It would create an expanded state ethics commission to oversee all candidates and officeholders statewide.

Legislators of both parties called ethics reform a top priority for 2013, but progress has been slow.

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