Palmetto Sunrise: Domestic violence reform expected to cross finish line

A domestic violence silent witness ceremony. The push for domestic violence reform appears poised to cross the finish line.

The Legislature is stuck in neutral. High hopes at the beginning of the year on ethics and a long-term plan to fund South Carolina’s beleagured transportation system will likely have to wait until next year.

Unless things change drastically — a prolonged filibuster ends and competing GOP factions coalesce in a matter of days — domestic violence reform may be the most significant advancement of the 2015 legislative session. The House is expected to agree with the Senate’s changes on the bill today and move the bill to Gov. Nikki Haley for her signature.

Tougher penalties that are a part of the bill are the biggest advance on an issue that has plagued the state for years, Laura Hudson, a prominent victims advocate, has said. Combatting domestic violence has “no silver bullet” but, she said, the measure represents a good start.

The effort came out of the Post and Courier’s Pulitzer Prize-winning series on domestic violence “Till Death Do Us Part.”

It comes as recommended reading today and it begins like this:

More than 300 women were shot, stabbed, strangled, beaten, bludgeoned or burned to death over the past decade by men in South Carolina, dying at a rate of one every 12 days while the state does little to stem the carnage from domestic abuse.

More than three times as many women have died here at the hands of current or former lovers than the number of Palmetto State soldiers killed in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars combined.

It’s a staggering toll that for more than 15 years has placed South Carolina among the top 10 states nationally in the rate of women killed by men. The state topped the list on three occasions, including this past year, when it posted a murder rate for women that was more than double the national rate.

Awash in guns, saddled with ineffective laws and lacking enough shelters for the battered, South Carolina is a state where the deck is stacked against women trapped in the cycle of abuse, a Post and Courier investigation has found.

Couple this with deep-rooted beliefs about the sanctity of marriage and the place of women in the home, and the vows “till death do us part” take on a sinister tone.

Read the series here.

Hillary Clinton visits Columbia. She is expected to meet with House and Senate Democrats and deliver remarks to Democratic women at the Marriott downtown.

Related: Republicans release video ahead of Clinton visit

In other news...

Post and Courier investigation: Shots Fired.

Lindsey Graham travels to Israel

DSS-related bill advances on medical records

Haley delivers instructions on budget surplus

Body cameras bill stalled

Clinton hopes for different result in SC (The State)