question marks

Unanswered Questions of the 2016 Session

SOUTH CAROLINA LAWMAKERS ARE ON THE VERGE OF PASSING BILLS THAT WILL DIRECTLY AFFECT YOUR LIFE – AND NOT IN A GOOD WAY. TIME TO ASK SOME TOUGH QUESTIONS. Every year toward the end of the legislative session, lawmakers begin passing highly consequential bills that the public knows next to nothing about. Reading these bills, […]

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How the State Uses Borrowed Money

● State issues bond debt through murky, complicated process ● Process shields lawmakers from accountability for debt spending ● Real power belongs to two boards few citizens have even heard of ● Two lawmakers (probably not yours) have seats on both boards ● State’s general obligation bond debt now at $326 million and climbing ● State now saddled with more […]


Senate Passes ‘Independent [sic] Investigation’ Bill

LEGISLATIVE SELF-POLICING REARRANGED, NOT ELIMINATED Yesterday the Senate amended H.3184, which deals with the legislature’s system of self-policing – i.e. lawmakers adjudicating each other’s ethics violations in the form of House and Senate ethics committees. While the concerning provisions remain the same (they’re explained here), senators made these changes. It would now take a three-fourths […]

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UPDATE: Senate Moves on Income Disclosure

INCOME DISCLOSURE, WITH LOOPHOLES Senators seemed determined this week to not let another session go by without addressing “ethics reform” – although nothing that’s likely to pass the legislature will change their conduct in the least. After several days of debating an omnibus ethics bill that’s no longer omnibus, the Senate seemed to stall on […]

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UPDATE: Senate Addresses Ethics Legislation

THE SENATE BILL IS GONE. THE HOUSE BILL IS BACK. WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN? The ethics debate in the Senate got very interesting this week as the Senate took up H.3184 the “ethics” bill on special order. In order to explain exactly what happened in the Senate chamber, we first need to provide some […]

state house dome

Does the Constitution Require Self-Policing?

THE SHORT ANSWER: OF COURSE NOT Many, if not most, South Carolina state lawmakers have a peculiar understanding of the separation of powers. For them, the principle seems to mean that all powers should be removed from the executive and judicial branches and concentrated in the legislature. In the ongoing debate over ethics reform, for instance, several lawmakers […]

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Bill Would Send More Subsidies to Farms

FARMERS WERE HIT HARD DURING LAST OCTOBER’S FLOODS. SO WERE MANY OTHERS. BUT ARE MORE GOVERNMENT SUBSIDIES ALWAYS THE ANSWER? Thousands of individuals and businesses have received governmental assistance following South Carolina’s historic rainfall and flooding in October of 2015. However, one industry in particular has said the assistance made available to it was not […]

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The Gas Tax Debate: How We Got Here

Lawmakers have bypassed the public, the law, their own rules, and the constitution to get a gas tax through the Senate. Citizens deserve better. Legislation to raise the gas tax and a host of fees is now before the Senate. It’s currently held up by a filibuster. For the bill to get as far as it has, […]

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Why the Latest Ethics Bill Would Change Nothing

● Bill includes unaccountable exceptions to private income disclosure ● Actually weakens public income disclosure requirement ● Legislative self-policing rearranged, not abolished ● Allows ethics committees to sign off – in secret – on sketchy practices The Senate Judiciary Committee has passed another long, complicated ethics bill. The amended bill addresses two principal areas: income disclosure and […]

ANALYSIS: Abolishing Certificate of Need Laws

EXCELLENT REFORM MADE MEANINGLESS BY ONE AMENDMENT H.3250 is the most significant health care reform introduced so far this session. At the end of the 2015 session, the bill would have, beginning in 2018, repealed state laws that establish and regulate the Certificate of Needs (CON) program in South Carolina. The bill was recently made significantly […]

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