BRIEFS: Prevention program on chopping block; New number two

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Trump slashes teen pregnancy prevention program

The Trump administration has cut a federal grants program advocates say has helped to decrease S.C. teen pregnancy rates.

The Office of Adolescent Health’s five-year grant project for teen pregnancy prevention is slated to close after three years on June 30, 2018. Nonprofit news organization Center for Investigative Reporting reported July 14 the administration will cut $213.6 million in grants, which are distributed to more than 80 organizations focused on preventing teen pregnancies. South Carolina receives about $6.5 million in funding from those grants.

De Santis

Earlier this month, S.C. Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy CEO Beth De Santis told Statehouse Report that while the state has had its sharpest declines in teen pregnancy in decades, cutting the grant program could threaten progress.

“Since learning of this news, we have been working with local, state and national partners to inform key stakeholders regarding this decision and to start considering plans to address the gaps that this loss will create,” De Santis said in a statement on the Campaign’s website. “We encourage partners and advocates for young people around the state to remain vocal about the importance of evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention resources for youth.”

Teen pregnancy watchdogs are also eyeing the bill called the Personhood Act (H. 3530) currently in the House Judiciary Committee. De Santis said the bill could limit contraceptive access in the state, which wouldn’t help the teen birth rates to further decline.

— Lindsay Street, Statehouse correspondent

State’s top prosecutor names new second-in-command

S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson announced Monday that Circuit Court Judge Jeff Young will serve his office as chief deputy attorney general.

Young begins the position Aug. 1, and will continue to hear cases in his role as judge through next week. An attorney general spokesman said Young will not take cases involving the top prosecutor’s office.

According to a court biography, Young grew up and practiced law in Sumter. He was elected to the Third Judicial Circuit in Family Court in 2004 and served until 2009, when he was elected as an at-large Circuit Court judge and serving in an active/retired role. He filled the unexpired term of Judge John M. Milling. He also served in the S.C. House of Representatives in two stints, 1995-1998 and 2001-2003, and is a retired lieutenant colonel in the Air Force Reserve.

“As someone who has legislated in the House, ruled from the bench, and served in a combat zone, Judge Young has a passion for public service that has me excited about the work we’ll be able to do together to serve the people of South Carolina,” Wilson said in a press release.

According to a July 17 article in The State, Young replaces Robert Bolchoz, who will return to private practice.

— Lindsay Street, Statehouse correspondent


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