BILL ANALYSIS: Regulating the Funeral Industry

  More often than not, state regulation – especially licensing laws – has little to do with protecting the public and everything to do with insulating currently entrenched businesses from competition. Consider S.160, legislation that would require the licensure of all third-party funeral service providers. Is anyone harmed by unlicensed funeral services? Almost certainly not, but […]

Senate Ethics Bill Would Take Reform Backward

MEET THIS YEAR’S GIANT ‘ETHICS BILL’ The legislative session has only just begun, but somehow lawmakers on the Senate Judiciary Committee are already poised to pass an omnibus ethics reform bill. Subcommittees met in December and January – before the legislature was even in session – to assemble the bill, S.1. Now Sen. Larry Martin, the […]

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Gov. Haley’s Budget: Same Deal, More Money

THE GOVERNOR DOUBLES DOWN, PHONES IT IN Update* Budget documents prepared by the Executive Budget Office not available at the time of initial publication reveal an even larger executive budget. The full executive budget comes in at $26 billion, an $890 million increase in total appropriations over last year’s budget. Gov. Nikki Haley has released her […]

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Lawmakers File Scores of ‘Ethics’ Bills for 2015

WHICH ONES DESERVE THE WORD ‘REFORM’? Two years ago, many, perhaps most, lawmakers dismissed the need for ethics reform. They know better now. As the 2015 session begins, already more than 30 ethics-related bills have been filed. Some would accomplish worthy goals, to be sure. Yet most contain troubling and dangerous provisions that would loosen rather […]

The S.C. Supreme Court’s New Role: Education Czar

THE ABBEVILLE DECISION IS JUDICIAL IMPERIALISM IN SUPPORT OF DISCREDITED POLICY The South Carolina Supreme Court issued a momentous decision on November 12. In a case that’s been going on for years, three out of five justices ruled that the state has failed to meet its constitutionally required obligation to provide a “minimally adequate” education […]

S.C. House Passes One Excellent Reform

. . . AND KILLS A TERRIBLE ONE During the first day of organizational session on December 2, the House voted on and approved a package of 15 rule changes presented by the Ad Hoc Committee on House Rules and Procedures. A proposed rule change that would have required all citizens testifying before the General […]

Good & Bad Ideas on Roads

WHAT YOUR POLICYMAKERS ARE HEARING & SAYING Two recent meetings – the House Ad Hoc Transportation Review Committee, and a York Town Hall addressed by Rep. Gary Simrill (R-York) – have given us a glimpse of what lawmakers are planning for 2015 on the subject of road construction and maintenance. At both of these meetings, […]

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Roads: Is Raising Taxes Really the Only Option?

LAWMAKERS SEEM TO THINK SO. A LITTLE EFFORT MIGHT BE IN ORDER. Tax hikes are on the mind of legislators. At least that’s what the October 30 meeting of the Ad Hoc Transportation Committee would lead any observer to believe. The first half of the committee meeting was taken up by presentations from representatives of […]

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How “Restructuring” Gave the Legislature More Power

NEW POWERS FOR LAWMAKERS? Much has been made of the restructuring of state government through the Department of Administration bill passed in January. Proponents of the bill have labeled it historic reform and said it would move South Carolina away from unresponsive government. But analysis of the bill by the Policy Council showed that the legislation […]

Does the Education Superintendent Matter?

NOT AS MUCH AS IT SHOULD A recent debate between the two major party candidates vying to become South Carolina’s next Superintendent of Education failed to reveal many substantive policy differences. Both candidates agreed the state’s educational funding system was “outdated,” both expressed support for a limited level of “public school choice,” and neither candidate […]