SC bill would get rid of filing law for terrorists - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

SC bill would get rid of filing law for terrorists

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - In South Carolina, any group that plans to overthrow the federal government - or any other government in the U.S. - must register its activities.

It's the law.

Now some state legislators are looking to repeal it.

State Sen. Larry Martin said Monday the 1951 McCarthy-era statute that's meant to deter communists is one more thing making South Carolina look bad, since bloggers and talk radio picked up on it last month. A misconception spread that the statute, on the books for nearly six decades, had only recently become law.

Legislators said some constituents in this deeply red state were concerned it was aimed at conservative activists.

"Nothing could be further from the truth," said Martin, R-Pickens. The law was enacted "at a time they thought it was the best response to the communist scare. It's long outlived its usefulness, if ever it had one."

His bill to repeal it comes up for debate this week in a Senate panel.

The "subversive activities registration act" requires any group that advocates overthrowing local, state or federal governments to pay $5 and register the group's name, its leader's address, beliefs, all members living in South Carolina and check yes or no to the following: "Do you or your organization directly or indirectly advocate, advise, teach or practice the duty or necessity of controlling, seizing or overthrowing the government?"

Those that fail to file face up to a $25,000 fine and 10 years in prison. When enacted, it was seen as a way to prosecute someone who gets caught failing to file, instead of having to prove they were fomenting insurrection, Martin said.

"I'm sure Osama bin Laden would be amused," he added.

Until February, no one had registered, said Secretary of State Mark Hammond.

Now, about 10 have filed, apparently in jest, as political commentary. Two actually paid the fee, according to his office.

"Our organization is in fact so dastardly that we have refused to remit the fee," writes someone claiming to represent the Las Vegas-based Alliance of the Libertarian Left.

Other filers include American Citizens for the Extermination of South Carolina, based in "the corner of Fire and Brimstone," S.C., listing the state's congressmen as its members. One New York filer chastises the state for having such a silly form, noting his subversive act is voting, while a North Carolina writer asks facetiously - on a letter titled "What??!!!" in big, bold letters - "Why are you only charging $5 for registration?"

"Some folks did fear this could be used in an attempt to squelch their voice," said state Rep. Eric Bedingfield, R-Mauldin, a co-sponsor of a matching House bill to repeal the law. "To clear up the confusion, let's just remove it."

State Rep. Tommy Stringer, the main sponsor, said people panicked unnecessarily about the law restricting civil liberties, particularly since the wording exempts labor unions and patriotic groups that don't aim to overthrow the government. It also specifies that it does not infringe on free speech rights. People protesting peacefully aren't subversive, he said.

"What disturbed me was the second part dealing with foreign corporations," said the Landrum Republican, noting it requires the registration of groups "subject to foreign control," including corporations financially supported by foreign governments.

"We're trying to bring business in, not potentially embarrass them for coming here," he said, calling it - simply - a badly written, unnecessary law.

__

On the Net:

SC Subversive Agent Form: http://www.scsos.com/forms/Miscellaneous/SubversiveAgentForm.pdf

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Region 8 News</span><a class="customMoreLink" href="/Global/category.asp?C=4391" target="_top">More >></a>Region 8 NewsMore>>

  • Man kicks deputy in head, police say

    Man kicks deputy in head, police say

    Monday, September 25 2017 11:38 PM EDT2017-09-26 03:38:09 GMT
    Monday, September 25 2017 11:54 PM EDT2017-09-26 03:54:59 GMT
    Logan Dustin Stricker (Source: Greene County Sheriff's Office via Vinelink)Logan Dustin Stricker (Source: Greene County Sheriff's Office via Vinelink)

    A Greene County man faces a multitude of charges after he reportedly kicked a Greene County Sheriff's deputy in the head, authorities said Monday. 

    A Greene County man faces a multitude of charges after he reportedly kicked a Greene County Sheriff's deputy in the head, authorities said Monday. 

  • Baby boomers also interested in smartphones, study shows

    Baby boomers also interested in smartphones, study shows

    Monday, September 25 2017 10:58 PM EDT2017-09-26 02:58:07 GMT
    Monday, September 25 2017 11:37 PM EDT2017-09-26 03:37:11 GMT
    (Source: Pablo)(Source: Pablo)

    Young people and young adults may not be the only technically adept members of their family, according to a recent study from a cell phone company. 

    Young people and young adults may not be the only technically adept members of their family, according to a recent study from a cell phone company. 

  • Family requests rezoning for miniature horses

    Family requests rezoning for miniature horses

    Monday, September 25 2017 10:35 PM EDT2017-09-26 02:35:13 GMT
    Monday, September 25 2017 11:24 PM EDT2017-09-26 03:24:09 GMT
    (Source: KAIT)(Source: KAIT)

    A Paragould family is a step closer to having their miniature horses living on their property as the city discussed an ordinance that would rezone their property from residential to agriculture. The property is located in the 3,000-block of Finch Road.

    A Paragould family is a step closer to having their miniature horses living on their property as the city discussed an ordinance that would rezone their property from residential to agriculture. The property is located in the 3,000-block of Finch Road.

Powered by Frankly