COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- In a state where eight county sheriffs have been convicted of crimes in office over the past decade, South Carolina lawmakers want to tighten the qualifications to be a top law enforcement official.

The proposal would bar someone from running for sheriff in any of the state's 46 counties if the person has been convicted, pleaded guilty to, or been pardoned of a felony or ``a crime of moral turpitude'' in South Carolina or any other state. 

There was already a law in place to keep most felons from getting the sheriff's badge. Sheriffs must be certified law officers, and a felony conviction usually means the end of an officer's certification.

Supporters of the bill say it closes a loophole by including anyone pardoned of a felony.

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