lobbyists

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 […]

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, […]

P

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 […]

Senate_3

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 […]

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 Both candidates agreed the state’s educational funding system was “outdated,” both expressed support for a limited level of “public school choice,” and neither candidate […]

Why Raising the Fuel Tax Is a Terrible Idea

MONEY’S NOT THE PROBLEM. PRIORITIES ARE. The issue of road funding – or, to put it slightly differently, the question of how South Carolina should fix its broken road system – is now a constant topic in politics and the media. A fair number of state lawmakers have therefore begun to advocate what politicians always advocate […]

mcdonnell

Getting Politics out of Money

WHAT THE McDONNELL CASE TELLS US ABOUT GOVERNMENT ‘DEVELOPING’ THE ECONOMY Last week former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell was convicted of 11 counts of corruption related to his acceptance of personal gifts in exchange for using gubernatorial power to promote a company named Star Scientific. The story of McDonnell’s downfall will no doubt be used […]

Why “Publicly Owned” Resources Get Neglected

IS YOUR LOCAL GOVERNMENT DOING A GREAT JOB OF MAINTAINING PUBLIC INFRASTRUCTURE? IF NOT . . .  The Nerve recently reported on a lawyer who is simultaneously serving as a board member of the environmental group Congaree Riverkeeper and defending the City of Columbia against a lawsuit alleging neglect and improper diversion of funds from […]

How S.C.’s Legislature Bullies Local Governments

WHEN WILL LOCAL GOVERNMENTS PUSH BACK AGAINST ALL THIS MEDDLING? The House of Representatives returned for a special one day session on August 27 to address a mere two bills that had been vetoed by the Governor. The first, a bill to allow a form of banishment from public libraries, passed easily with not a […]