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With online commerce continuing to rise, a state lawmaker is proposing a crackdown on those who steal items off of residents’ porches. According to Seanna Adcox at The Post and Courier, state Rep. Cezar McKnight is pushing the Defense Against Porch Pirates Act, which would entail a $5,000 fine and up to five years in prison. “It’s a serious problem,” McKnight says. “We need something to catch the public’s attention and make it known South Carolina takes it seriously.” Those convicted under the act would be ineligible for parole or pre-trial intervention. — Chris Trainor

CPD’s Melron Kelly Tapped for National Board

Columbia Police Deputy Chief Melron Kelly has been tapped to serve on a national committee on which he will be tasked to help in “recognizing the country’s most distinguished police officers ... for the Congressional Badge of Bravery.” Kelly was chosen for the board by Houston Metro Police Department Chief Vera Bumpers. Kelly “will bring a strong voice to this important board as they review and select officers worthy of this prestigious Badge of Bravery award,” CPD Chief Skip Holbrook said, in a release. Established in 2008, the Congressional Badge of Bravery acknowledges the achievements of federal, state and local police officers in the line of duty. The medals are awarded annually by the U.S. Attorney General and are presented by the recipients’ congressional representatives. — Chris Trainor

Gamecocks Smashed in Bowl Game

The University of South Carolina football team ended its season on a sour note, getting pummeled 28-0 by Virginia on Dec. 28 in the Belk Bowl in Charlotte. The Gamecocks turned in a curiously listless performance, finding themselves behind 14-0 at halftime and never recovering. It was the first time USC has been shut out in 12 years. South Carolina’s offense was mostly absent, with the Cavaliers outgaining the Gamecocks 413 to 261 in total yardage. USC quarterback Jake Bentley threw two interceptions. South Carolina finished the season with a 7-6 overall record. — Chris Trainor

SC Women Increasingly Terminate Pregnancies in Other States

Many women in South Carolina who choose to terminate pregnancies continue to go to other states to do so, according to a report from The Post and Courier. The report says that 5,600 South Carolina women had abortions outside of the Palmetto State in 2015, a number that was higher than anywhere else in America. Last year, about 11,000 women who claimed South Carolina as their residence had abortions, but less than half of those were performed in South Carolina. The Post and Courier notes numbers from a Centers for Disease Control report and the state’s health department indicate “that decades’ worth of legislative attempts to reduce abortions in South Carolina have not stopped women from terminating their pregnancies. In fact, the rate of South Carolina women who had abortions last year was exactly the same as it was 20 years ago. Increasingly, though, it appears women are getting the procedure done outside the state.” — Chris Trainor

Sanford Warns ‘Hitler-like Character’ Could Rise in U.S.

As Mark Sanford exits Congress, he warned that the cult of personality surrounding President Donald Trump could endanger the country. “I want to be clear and explicit that I am not likening Trump to Hitler, but the forces at play could lead to a future Hitler-like character if we don’t watch out,” Sanford wrote. Sanford’s farewell message, intended to be delivered on the U.S. House floor but posted on Facebook instead, warned that the country is “headed for a shipwreck if we don’t change course,” adding, “We seem to flirt with populism about every hundred years in this country, and it seems we are in our latest courtship given the era of Trump. But a cult of personality is never what our Founding Fathers intended.” He invoked Friedrich Hayek, who in his book The Road to Serfdom “talks about how open political systems become more and more difficult and cumbersome with the passage of time.” The danger, Sanford wrote, is that as politics becomes more difficult, “inevitably a strong man comes along and offers easy promises.” — Eva Moore

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