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State Briefs

Posted: March 19, 2014 - 11:49am

South Carolina considering ban
on ‘upskirting’

COLUMBIA — Secretly taking a photo or video from underneath a woman’s skirt would be banned under the state’s anti-peeping statutes, if a bill proposed March 12 becomes law in South Carolina.

Rep. Rita Allison, R-Lyman, said constituents were worried about the practice of “upskirting” after a Supreme Court decision in Massachusetts declared it to be legal. Lawmakers of the state quickly passed legislation to prohibit the secretive photography.

“I’ve had mothers of young children that called me about, ‘Is this covered?’” she said. When Allison checked to see if South Carolina’s voyeurism law included upskirting, she found that it did not.

Allison’s proposal, H. 4912, would add upskirting to the list of activities that are illegal in South Carolina.

A first offense is a misdemeanor and carries a fine of $500 and a sentence of up to three years. Any offense after that becomes a felony, with a maximum fine of $5,000 and a possible prison term of five years.

“Before, we didn’t have the technology that we do today, and we probably didn’t have a lot of the problems we have now,” said the Spartanburg County Republican.

A search of Georgia bills yielded no similar proposal pending before the Legislature.

Active duty military eligible for property tax break

COLUMBIA — A new law in South Carolina gives tax breaks to active duty members of the military.

The Military Homeowner Protection Act was signed into law Thursday.

The state Board of Economic Advisors expects 428 soldiers to benefit immediately, with a reduction in local property tax revenue of about $357,000. No state revenue would be lost under the new law.

Previously, active duty soldiers paying a 4 percent property tax assessment while stationed in the state could see that increase to 6 percent if their duty required them to move.

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