SAVANNAH, GA. — President Obama is awarding the nation’s highest civilian honor to the late Juliette Gordon Low, who founded the Girl Scouts 100 years ago in Savannah.
The White House announced Thursday that Low is among 13 Americans chosen to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Low died in 1927, but the Girl Scouts are still going strong with 2.3 million members nationwide.
Low isn’t the only Medal of Freedom recipient this year with Georgia ties.
Also being honored is physician and epidemiologist William Foege, who helped lead the campaign credited with eradicating smallpox in the 1970s. Foege has served as director of the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and as executive director of the Carter Center founded by President Carter.
Obama is scheduled to visit Georgia today.
High court won’t hear SCLC case
ATLANTA — The state’s highest court will not hear a challenge over the leadership of a historic civil rights group.
The Georgia Supreme Court denied a request to hear the challenge brought by ousted board members of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. A Superior Court judge ruled last fall against the breakaway faction.
In 2010, federal and local authorities launched an investigation into allegations that SCLC’s chairman and treasurer mismanaged at least $569,000 of the group’s money. The dispute split longtime colleagues – some with friendships dating back to the civil rights era – and exposed severe gaps in SCLC’s governance.
Authorities later found the accusations were unsubstantiated.
The SCLC was founded by the Revs. Martin Luther King Jr., Ralph David Abernathy, Joseph Lowery and others in 1957.
SC Senate OKs election change
COLUMBIA — The South Carolina Senate approved a resolution Thursday asking voters whether the governor and lieutenant governor should run on the same ticket, but not until 2018.
The joint resolution, approved 34-1, would put the question to voters on November’s ballot. The House passed the measure in March 2011, but asked whether the two should begin running together in 2014.
An amendment proposed by Sen. Jake Knotts, R-West Columbia, changed that to 2018 – a move he contends improves its chances.
The change clearly riled Gov. Nikki Haley, who quickly blasted Knotts on her Facebook page and told supporters to call their legislators.
The amendment ensured that restructuring she talked about during her 2010 campaign won’t take effect until she’s out of office, she said.
Bill would bolster open records law
COLUMBIA — The South Carolina House approved a bill Thursday strengthening the state’s open records law.
The bill approved 101-1 a bill barring public agencies, governments and school districts from charging excessive fees for public records and requiring them to respond more quickly. It also removes legislators’ exemption from the law.
“The intent is to make documents more easily accessible not costly. It’s as simple as that,” said Rep. Bill Taylor, R-Aiken.
A former newspaper reporter, TV anchorman and TV news consultant, Taylor said he’s well-acquainted with governments’ tactics of delay.
In other news
AN OFF-DUTY Atlanta police officer was charged with driving under the influence and driving the wrong way, which led to a collision with a Greyhound bus. The officer was hurt, but no one on the bus was.