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TO AMEND THE CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, BY ADDING SECTION 2-19-22 SO AS TO PROVIDE FOR AN INVESTIGATION OF A JUDGE BY THE JUDICIAL MERIT SELECTION COMMISSION IF TEN MEMBERS OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY REQUEST AN INVESTIGATION FOR POSSIBLE MALFEASANCE, MISFEASANCE, INCOMPETENCY, ABSENTEEISM, CONFLICTS OF INTEREST, MISCONDUCT, PERSISTENT NEGLECT OF DUTY IN OFFICE, OR INCAPACITY, TO PROVIDE FOR THE COMMISSION TO MAKE A RECOMMENDATION TO THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY AFTER ITS INVESTIGATION, AND TO PROVIDE THAT THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY SHALL MEET IN JOINT SESSION WITHIN THREE WEEKS OF THE RECEIPT OF THE COMMISSION'S RECOMMENDATION FOR THE PURPOSE OF ACCEPTING OR REJECTING THE RECOMMENDATION.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
SECTION 1. Chapter 19, Title 2 of the 1976 Code is amended by adding:
"Section 2-19-22. (A) Upon request by at least ten members of the General Assembly and, notwithstanding another provision of law, it is the responsibility of the Judicial Merit Selection Commission to investigate possible malfeasance, misfeasance, incompetency, absenteeism, conflicts of interest, misconduct, persistent neglect of duty in office, or incapacity of a judge under the jurisdiction of the commission.
(B) The Judicial Merit Selection Commission may utilize the services of the Commission on Judicial Conduct in conducting its investigation and, notwithstanding another provision of law, the Commission on Judicial Conduct is authorized to provide confidential information regarding any investigation of a judge to the Judicial Merit Selection Commission.
(C) Upon completion of its investigation, the Judicial Merit Selection Commission shall issue a formal report to the General Assembly with a recommendation for no action with an explanation, a recommendation for a private or public reprimand by the commission, or a recommendation that the judge be removed from office on a date certain.
(D) Within three weeks of receipt of the commission's recommendation, the General Assembly shall meet in joint session for the purpose of accepting or rejecting the recommendation."
SECTION 2. This act takes effect on the first day of the second month following ratification of an amendment to the Constitution of this State authorizing an additional method of removing judges by the General Assembly.
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