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      Ethics panel created by Gov. Haley releases report

      COLUMBIA, S.C. (WACH / AP) -- A panel led by two former attorneys general has released 23 recommendations on how to overhaul South Carolina's ethics laws.

      The suggestions include requiring public officials to disclose more of their income, increasing penalties for violating ethics laws, and providing public documents more quickly and cheaply. The group also believes criminal allegations against public officials should be investigated by a new Public Integrity Unit.

      Former attorneys general Henry McMaster and Travis Medlock co-chaired the committee that Gov. Nikki Haley created in October.

      McMaster says the reforms are vital for the public to have confidence in their government.

      "Honest government encourages business development," McMaster said. "Business development creates jobs. Jobs create revenue. It sends the mesage to the public that the people you elected, and have on these boards and commissions, spending your money are honest."

      The panel is one of several such study committees. The House Republican and Democratic caucuses each have one, as do senators. Lawmakers of both parties say ethics reform is a priority this year.

      (The Associated Press contributed to this report.)