COLUMBIA - It's going to be a tense morning at the Statehouse complex this morning as Senators continue their questioning of the Department of Social Services chief.
DSS Director Lillian Koller will testify before the Senate's DSS Oversight Subcommittee. It's the second time she testifies; her first time was in April, after she returned from being on medical leave since December.
Much has happened since April's hearing. She's got two members of the panel calling for Gov. Nikki Haley to fire Koller, for example.
By the time she testified in April, Sen. Joel Lourie, D-Columbia, had already called for Koller to resign. But following Koller's testimony in April, Sen. Katrina Shealy, R-Lexington, also began to call for new leadership at the agency.
Shealy and Haley got into a Facebook spat as well, following the hearing. It was picked up by national media outlets such as Buzzfeed and Slate.
Meanwhile, on the day Lourie held a press conference to call on Haley to fire Koller, an infant died.
Five-month-old Bryson Webb died in his car seat on April 22, after he stopped breathing. His mother, 28-year-old Jennifer Coles, is now facing charges of homicide by child abuse or neglect, after being arrested initially on charges of unlawful conduct toward a child.
While announcing details that led to Coles' arrest, Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said he wished the agency had done more to find Bryson and his family. The sheriff's office and DSS released conflicting information as to when did DSS began searching for the infant's family.
The boy's death triggered an immediate policy change at the agency, which requires staffers contact law enforcement if they can't find a family within 72 hours. It also led to Haley announcing she was taking more of a hand-on approach with the agency, specifically Richland County DSS.
With all that going on, Shealy said the panel will have many questions for Koller today.
"It's great to make changes in one county but we have problems across the state," said Shealy on Tuesday, about the changes implemented at the Richland County Office.
In other news:
S.C. Supreme Court set to hear Harrell case, Attorney General Alan Wilson asks for reversal (The Post and Courier)
South Carolina's voters may decide whether to appoint adjudant general (The Associated Press)
New South Carolina law criminalizes lying about military service (The Associated Press)
USC Upstate students plan to protest closing of center; Chancellor Moore responds (Spartanburg Herald-Journal)
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