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SC lawmakers back out of special prosecutor bill

COLUMBIA (AP) — South Carolina House members are removing their names from legislation allowing the General Assembly to decide whether an independent prosecutor should investigate a constitutional officer or other officer under the governor’s control.

Eighty-five legislators initially signed on to proposals introduced against the backdrop of Attorney General Alan Wilson investigating House Speaker Bobby Harrell for possible ethics violations. Harrell maintains he’s done nothing wrong.

Harrell’s critics contend the bills are about his case. Legislators of both parties say they couldn’t apply to Harrell, but disagreed on the idea’s purpose.

One bill gave the Legislature authority to decide on a special prosecutor. The other would ask voters on general election ballots whether to change the state constitution.

Democratic Rep. James Smith says he plans to introduce separate legislation that erases the confusion.

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