How Can Citizens Get Answers on Roads?

THE SYSTEM MAKES IT DIFFICULT – BUT IT’S NOT IMPOSSIBLE South Carolina’s transportation system is not accountable to any one elected official, and that’s by design. Even so, after several years of pressure from citizens and some piecemeal changes to the law, there are ways for South Carolinians to engage with transportation policymakers. (1) Citizens […]

Disclosure: What the Law Does & Doesn’t Require

LAST YEAR’S DISCLOSURE LAW LEAVES OUT A LOT – A LOT THAT YOU CAN ASK FOR Last month, we launched Project Income Disclosure with the aim of giving citizens a way to ask for voluntary transparency on matters of income. Taxpayers have a right to know about the financial relationships existing between their elected officials and […]

Category: Transparency · Tags:

Where Does the Gas Tax Really Go?

  IF LAWMAKERS WANT TO SEND MORE OF THE GAS TAX TO ROADS, THEY’RE FREE TO DO IT. SO WHY DON’T THEY? When the gas tax hike bill (H.3516) was going through the House, House leadership circulated a flyer (click here) purporting to show how revenue from the gas tax is currently spent. Of the 16.75 cent […]

Freedom of Information in S.C. – An Experiment

WE SENT SIMPLE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUESTS TO ELEVEN STATE AGENCIES. HERE’S WHAT WE FOUND. The purpose of the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), passed in the aftermath of the Watergate scandal, was to make information possessed by government available to the public. Every state has an equivalent law, and any citizen – whether […]

South Carolina budget legislation

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 […]

Category: Reform & Restructuring, Transparency · Tags:

Taking the Power Back: Eight Reforms

HOW CAN WE MAKE SOUTH CAROLINA’S POLITICIANS THE LEAST POWERFUL AND MOST ACCOUNTABLE IN THE NATION? (1)  Restore judicial independence. The public deserves confidence that judges rule independently of the legislature whose laws they judge. South Carolina is the only state in the nation in which the legislature unilaterally appoints judges even when vacancies arise. […]

SC General Assembly

Budget Process Remains Secretive

THERE’S ONLY ONE WAY TO ACHIEVE BUDGET TRANSPARENCY, AND THAT’S TO FOLLOW THE LAW  The budget debate this session was one of the most bizarre we’ve seen yet. It wasn’t that many years ago that the state’s Budget and Control Board was making across-the-board budget cuts owing to the recession and the state’s inability to meet its […]

The Supreme Court Reversal: An Analysis

HIGH COURT UPHOLDS RULE OF LAW. BUT WHY SECRECY IN FURTHER HEARINGS? Wednesday’s ruling by the Supreme Court reversed an unprecedented and dangerous ruling issued by a Circuit Judge Casey Manning in May. In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court ruled that Attorney General Alan Wilson was acting within his statutory and constitutional jurisdiction when […]

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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 […]

The “Nullification” Bill, Then and Now

  WHAT THE BILL DOES, AND COULD, ACCOMPLISH Originally known as the “nullification” bill, H.3101 has gone through many changes since it was originally pre-filed for the 2013 legislative session. Here we compare the bill passed by the House in May 2013 to the latest strike-and-insert amendment filed in the Senate. The Original Bill The […]