private property sign

Property Rights in South Carolina

PRIVATE PROPERTY IS TOTALLY SECURE IN THIS CONSERVATIVE STATE, RIGHT? WRONG. In the wake of the landmark U.S. Supreme Court’s Kelo decision, South Carolina attempted to shore up property rights with a constitutional amendment. As it now stands, however, the state constitution does not protect private property from seizure by government or even private companies. Currently, […]

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Will Lawmakers Raise the Gas Tax in 2017?

LAST YEAR, THE PROBLEM WAS STRUCTURAL RATHER THAN MONETARY. IT STILL IS. Over the past several weeks there has been considerable public speculation that Gov. Nikki Haley’s successor may support a gas tax increase. Given calls to raise the gas tax from editorial boards, Department of Transportation officials, and state lawmakers, it’s fair to assume that the […]

state house dome

The Threats to First Amendment Rights in S.C.

HOW STATE LAWMAKERS CONTINUE TO STRIKE AT CITIZENS’ FIRST AMENDMENT FREEDOMS Many Americans assume, wrongly, that their state legislatures deal mainly with low-level issues and that only Congress and the president deal with the really important matters of governance. Certainly in South Carolina, that’s an increasingly dangerous assumption. Indeed, the General Assembly has debated and […]

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How State Politicians Profit from Office

Why do South Carolina state lawmakers spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to get jobs that pay between $10,000 and $30,000? Thanks to lax ethics laws and unchecked power, the pay is quite a bit more. Here’s how it works.  On the surface, members of the South Carolina General Assembly make comparatively little for their legislative work: just […]

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South Carolina Gun Restrictions

Are Gun Restrictions Likely in 2017?

IN RECENT YEARS, STATE LAWMAKERS HAVE MADE INCREASINGLY BOLD MOVES AGAINST THE SECOND AMENDMENT. LOOK FOR MORE OF THE SAME THIS YEAR. The hostility toward Second Amendment freedoms seen at the national level – proposals for gun registries, bans on certain firearms, and so on – is just as evident in “red state” South Carolina’s […]

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handgun

The Gun Death ‘Epidemic’ and the 2nd Amendment

SOUTH CAROLINA POLICYMAKERS HAVE A DUTY TO RESPOND WITH REASON, NOT FEAR State lawmakers are now holding public forums to consider whether the General Assembly should further restrict citizens’ Second Amendment rights. Here’s what South Carolinians should understand about the gun debate before it begins. (1) The constitutional principle The American Constitution is not a […]

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bonds

How the State Uses Borrowed Money

● State issues bond debt through a 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 […]

Income Disclosure Bill Becomes Law

BUT THE NEW LAW WON’T TELL YOU MUCH ABOUT CONFLICTS OF INTEREST The legislature has now passed, and the governor signed, allegedly groundbreaking “ethics reform” legislation on the investigation of lawmakers and income disclosure. Why does income disclosure matter? Currently, state lawmakers are required to disclose almost nothing about their sources of income. That means, among […]

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voting board

What’s Left for the 2016 Session?

SESSION’S ALMOST OVER, BUT SEVERAL BILLS MAY YET BECOME LAW There’s now less than a month to go in South Carolina’s 2016 legislative session, and several major bills could go either way. Below you’ll find their current status, what they would accomplish (or fail to accomplish), and how to find out more. Income disclosure Status: […]

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Time Bomb over Blue

The Legislature’s $2.2 Billion Debt Bomb

● Bill would raise revenue by creating debt ● Senators seemingly unaware of state’s debt problem ● Plan would expand highways, do little about repair/maintenance of roads So far in this year’s legislative session, lawmakers have been unable to pass a tax increase for roads repair. Rather than giving up on the effort and sending […]