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, […]

New Ethics Measures Proposed, Debated

WHAT IS SO HARD ABOUT ELIMINATING EXEMPTIONS AND LOOPHOLES? On Monday the House Ethics and Freedom of Information Act Ad Hoc Study Committee met to consider six proposals. Two of the six proposals – one that would ban “leadership PACs” and another that would codify the definition of “committee” for purposes of PAC disclosures – […]

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New Ethics Proposals Made Public

ARE WE HEADED INTO ANOTHER YEAR OF WEAK ETHICS LEGISLATION? HARD TO SAY. The indictment and subsequent conviction of former Speaker Harrell on ethics charges has brought renewed calls for reform at the State House – and rightly so. Following the former speaker’s indictment, acting speaker Jay Lucas (R-Darlington) was quick to establish a number of […]

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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 […]

Who Runs South Carolina State Government?

POLITICIANS YOU DIDN’T VOTE FOR. THAT’S WHO. From education to road funding, from the judicial system to your electric bill, the important decisions are made by state lawmakers who represent only their districts. Most South Carolinians don’t vote for them – or even know their names. So when your power bill goes up again, or […]

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 […]

Testimony: Reforms to House Rules

SCPC PROPOSES REFORMS TO NEW COMMITTEE ON HOUSE RULES AND PROCEDURES [Editorial note: The following testimony was delivered by Policy Council Director of Research Jamie Murguia to the House Ad Hoc Committee on Rules and Procedures. The committee was appointed by Speaker of the House Pro Tempore Jay Lucas. Watch a video of Murguia’s testimony here.] […]

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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 […]