Bill would even out filing requirements for incumbents, would-be - - Columbia, South Carolina |

Bill would even out filing requirements for incumbents, would-be office seekers

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Lawmakers are back in Columbia for the first day of the 2013 session, and one of the Senate's first priorities is a bill that would make sure all candidates for office are treated the same.

You'll remember last May when more than 200 candidates were kicked off the ballot because they improperly filed their paperwork.

The current law became known as the Incumbent Protection Act because it created different rules for incumbents and their challengers.

Right now, public officials get a longer filing period than new candidates, and public officials have to file fewer forms to run for office.

The new Senate bill would even the filing requirements and would make all the deadlines to file the same for elected officials and those seeking office.

The new bill would allow filers to pay a fine if they fail to follow the filing requirements and not receive the "death penalty", as it came to be known last year.

The Senate Judiciary Committee sent the bill to the floor for debate. That debate could happen as soon as next week.

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