Repairing the S.C. Public Service Commission

REFORM IS MEANINGLESS WHEN LEGISLATORS DOMINATE AND NO ONE IS ACCOUNTABLE In our legislatively dominated state, there’s practically no aspect of state government that the General Assembly doesn’t either dominate or influence. South Carolina and Virginia are the only states where legislators nominate and elect judges, and South Carolina legislators appoint more than 420 members […]

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Firearm Freedom: How to Achieve It

IT’S NOT COMPLICATED South Carolina is one of the most gun friendly states in America, according to conventional wisdom. This may or may not be true when it comes to citizens attitudes, but it certainly isn’t reflected in the state’s firearm laws that, unlike those of many other states, prohibit citizens from openly carrying firearms […]

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Good and Bad News on Ethics Reform

ONE WORTHWHILE PROPOSAL, ONE STEP BACKWARD A little bit of good news, and a lot of bad: that’s the latest on state lawmakers’ faltering attempt to reform ethics laws. Last year, the Senate set H.3945 for special order. Since then, a “select committee on ethics” was appointed, met several times, wrote a report, and prepared […]

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Education Oversight Committee Passes the Buck on Common Core

  COMMITTEE WON’T MAKE DECISION, CITIZENS PAY THE PRICE In February of 2012 the State Board of Education approved the use of SMARTER Balanced assessments – the tests made by a “consortium” of states used to assess Common Core standards. Nearly two years later, the Education Oversight Committee (EOC) has yet to approve the use of these […]

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Is Legislative Self-Policing Really a Problem?

IF AN ETHICS REFORM BILL ALLOWS LAWMAKERS TO CONTINUE POLICING THEMSELVES, IS IT REALLY AN ETHICS REFORM BILL? During a brief debate on H. 3945 – a bill most legislators and the governor characterize as meaningful ethics reform – Senator Luke Rankin (R-Horry, and Chairman of the Senate Ethics Committee) referred to the process of […]

Category: Commentary, Self Governance, Transparency · Tags:

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Fines & Fees Imposed by the Unelected: WWFD?

WHY THE DANGER OF ‘TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION’ IS STILL  WITH US In many states – certainly including South Carolina – the state can raise taxes on citizens without even consulting the legislature. If that sounds outrageous, consider the fact that fines and fees are taxes. The raising of fines and fees on citizens by state […]

The Ethics Bill Is Back

THREE PROVISIONS THAT SHOULD BE AMENDED, PRONTO Today, a Senate Select Committee on Ethics will consider H.3945, the ethics bill that failed to make it out of the Senate last year. The bill has gone through several manifestations, each one generally worse than the last. Our hope is that Senators Rankin, Campsen, Hayes, Hutto, Jackson, […]

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S.C. Public Education & the Common Core Zeitgeist

A RECENT EDUCATION OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE MEETING SUGGESTS JUST HOW MUCH POWER WE’RE GIVING AWAY  “Security has asked me to advise that they are in attendance. If there are any outbursts from the audience, they will be escorted out of the meeting.” That’s how this week’s Education Oversight Committee (EOC) meeting was kicked off. In its […]

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Road Funding Priorities Run Further Amok

S.C.’S ROAD POLICY: BUILD NEW ROADS WITHOUT FIXING EXISTING ONES Since the close of the 2013 legislative session, the confused priorities of the state’s transportation authorities have been on full display. Just before the session ended, lawmakers passed a bill that would allow the largely unaccountable State Transportation Infrastructure Bank (STIB) to borrow up to […]

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Is South Carolina Really All That ‘Pro-Gun’?

OUR LAWS MIGHT SURPRISE YOU A great deal of coverage was given recently to South Carolina’s successful wooing of Connecticut gun manufacturer PTR Industries concentrated on state officials’ – and especially the governor’s –  “personal touch” as an important factor in PTR’s decision to relocate. Equally important, some officials claim (and some in the media […]