Ethics Reform in Reverse?

MAJOR ETHICS BILLS ARE MOVING IN BOTH HOUSE AND SENATE. EACH HIDES PROVISIONS THAT WOULD LEGALIZE UNETHICAL CONDUCT ON THE PART OF PUBLIC OFFICIALS, AND PUNISH CITIZENS FOR CHALLENGING THEM. [download .pdf] Both S.1 and H.3722 (omnibus bills in the Senate and House, respectively) would seriously abridge the First Amendment rights of nonpolitical, nonpartisan groups that […]

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On Roads, S.C. House Doing Its Own Thing

THE HOUSE PLAN HAS THIS IN COMMON WITH THE GOVERNOR’S: IT ASSUMES WE HAVE A REVENUE PROBLEM. Nearly a week after the governor released her plan to fix South Carolina roads, the House Ad Hoc Infrastructure Committee, chaired by Rep. Gary Simrill (R-York), unveiled its own proposal. In some small ways the plan is superior to […]

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 Gov. Nikki Haley has released her executive budget for fiscal year 2015-16. As we’ve come to expect, it’s the largest budget in South Carolina history. When you include a $1.5 billion appropriation for food stamps that was first moved to an unbudgeted accountin 2013-14, Haley’s new budget comes […]

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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 […]