Lawmakers Weaken Ethics Bill … Again?

ON ETHICS LEGISLATION, WE’RE NOT SURE HOW MUCH MORE DÉJÀ VU WE CAN STAND When it was introduced early last year, H.3945 was described as a “major ethics bill.” Yet at almost every stage since then, lawmakers have used it to give themselves more latitude on ethics laws than what they had before. Here’s the […]

state house dome

S.C. Lawmakers & Your Taxes

THINK S.C. LAWMAKERS ARE SERIOUS WHEN THEY EXTOL THE VIRTUES OF “LOW TAXES”? PREPARE TO BE DISAPPOINTED. South Carolina is known as a “red state” and a “conservative” state, and  so one might be led to believe it’s a place where non-“progressive,” free-market policies reign. Certainly South Carolina has a reputation for being a “low tax […]

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Withdrawing from Smarter Balanced: Q&A

SOUTH CAROLINA MAY WITHDRAW FROM THE COMMON CORE-ALIGNED CONSORTIUM KNOWN AS SMARTER BALANCED. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? With the recent move by the South Carolina Department of Education to remove South Carolina from the Smarter Balanced consortium, there’s a lot of understandable confusion about standards and assessments in state schools. What follows is a brief, […]

Lawmakers’ Latest Power Grab: Just the Facts

LEGISLATORS’ ARGUMENTS FAIL TO PERSUADE H.5072 – one of the most brazen acts of legislative retaliation we’ve ever witnessed – would allow the House and Senate to authorize a special prosecutor to investigate “alleged” violations of ethics laws by constitutional officers, including the Attorney General. This prosecutor would also be empowered to investigate “other officers,” a term that […]

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New Deregulation Bills Filed

ARE LAWMAKERS GETTING SERIOUS ABOUT REGULATION? The Policy Council has pointed out before the economically destructive effects of regulation. We’ve also argued that regulation is often – perhaps usually – less about protecting the consumer and more about protecting established businesses to the detriment  of would-be entrepreneurs. Several months ago, the Governor’s Regulatory Review Task […]

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The Politician Protection Act?

ARE HOUSE MEMBERS USING THE LAW TO PROTECT SOMEONE? OR TO WARN SOMEONE? PERHAPS THEY SHOULD EXPLAIN. Over the last year, we’ve noticed a growing number of bills introduced for the sole purpose – apparently – of protecting certain members of the legislature from prosecution for alleged ethics violations. A prime example of that trend, it […]

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The Ethics Bill: Still Alive, for Now

THE STICKING POINT: SELF-POLICING A House Judiciary subcommittee met on Tuesday to once again take up the “ethics bill” – H.3945. Versions of the bill have already passed both the Senate and the House, but rather than sending it to a conference committee, the House chose to amend the bill. The key sticking point has […]


How to Free South Carolina’s Energy Market

YOUR ELECTRICITY RATES ARE HIGH, AND GOING HIGHER. HERE’S THE REASON. In South Carolina – as in most other states – regulation has almost completely divorced the energy sector from the free market. Private energy providers must register with the state as public utilities in order to provide services. Once registered, the state helps enforce […]

Making Earmarks Public

 PERSONAL FUNDING REQUESTS SHOULDN’T BE ANONYMOUS A vast amount of money, but you know virtually nothing about what’s being spent, or why. That’s not because you’re uninformed – the state budget is designed to be as opaque, secretive, and abstruse as possible. The state spending plan is supposed to begin with a hearing on the […]

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Educational Freedom: How to Achieve It

HOW TO THINK DIFFERENTLY ABOUT EDUCATION IN S.C. It’s no secret that South Carolina has some of the worst public schools and some of the lowest levels of student academic achievement in the country. The most important factors generating this failure are these: (a)  a strong reluctance to experiment in education, combined with (b) an unthinking […]