Organized Retail Crime Bill Passes SC House

By Paul Gable

The SC House passed the Organized Retail Crime Bill last week providing stronger legislation to combat theft of items from retail stores.

The bill’s primary sponsor, Rep. Jeff Johnson, said, “Our current statutes did not have enough teeth to clarify organized retail crimes. This new bill clarifies organized conspiracy for retail theft with significant penalties for those who are convicted.”

South Carolina retailers have been victimized by organized groups of persons who steal items from stores with the express purpose of selling the items on for profit. These groups are not random shoplifters. Rather, they are organized groups who steal for the express purpose of financial gain, according to Johnson.

As Chairman of the Special Laws (Criminal Laws) Subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee, Johnson was the primary sponsor of the bill which he shepherded through the legislative process in the House.

This has been a busy legislative session for Johnson, In addition to the Organized Retail Crime Bill, he was involved in the legislation which made Fentanyl trafficking a specific offense with mandatory minimum sentences.

“We needed a law that lets Fentanyl traffickers know we are not going to put up with them in South Carolina,” said Johnson.

In his work on the Judiciary Committee and Special Laws Subcommittee, Johnson was also heavily involved in bond reform, which provides specific barriers for criminals out on bond for a violent crime who commit a second violent crime while awaiting trial on their first offense. Other bills Johnson worked on include additional penalties for kidnapping of a minor, a requirement for an ignition interlock device for those convicted of DUI and a telecommunications in prison bill which makes it an offense for inmates in prison and detention centers to have access to a cell phone.

As Chairman of the House Legislative Oversight Committee, Johnson is a member of an Insurance Fraud ad hoc Committee, which is working on ways to reduce insurance fraud on South Carolina. He was also involved directly with the legislation which established a new cabinet agency for Health and Policy which established a Secretary for Health and Policy directly appointed and answerable to the governor.

Now seeking his sixth term as the Representative for House District 58, Johnson looks forward to continuing his efforts to increase penalties on those who break the law improving the safety and security of the many law-abiding citizens in the state.

Comments are closed.