Push for background checks of port workers dies in South Carolina

| Friday, July 01, 2005

A measure that sought to require criminal background checks for workers at South Carolina ports has died.

A House-approved bill was awaiting consideration before the full Senate when lawmakers ended the session, effectively killing it for the year. It passed the Senate Transportation Committee in May.

Currently, the South Carolina Ports Authority cannot search for past criminal records for people not employed by the state, agency spokesman Byron Miller recently told The Associated Press.

H3923 would have required the state’s Law Enforcement Division and the FBI to conduct a fingerprint-based criminal check for all employees engaged in activities related to cargo.

The death of a port worker earlier this year prompted calls for tougher screening.

Archie Porcher of Cainhoy, SC, was charged with reckless homicide after being accused of running over a man at the Wando Welch Terminal of the Port of Charleston on Feb. 12.

Porcher has at least 24 convictions for moving violations in the state, The AP reported. In addition, his driver’s license has been suspended since June 2004 because of a conviction for possession of LSD and cocaine.

The bill did not apply to those making deliveries to or from the state’s Ports Authority facilities.

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