Why the Latest Ethics Bill Would Change Nothing

● Bill includes unaccountable exceptions to private income disclosure ● Actually weakens public income disclosure requirement ● Legislative self-policing rearranged, not abolished ● Allows ethics committees to sign off – in secret – on sketchy practices The Senate Judiciary Committee has passed another long, complicated ethics bill. The amended bill addresses two principal areas: income disclosure and […]

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Senate’s Latest Version of ‘Ethics Reform’

  DANGEROUS ‘ELECTIONEERING’ PROVISION SCRAPPED, BUT LEGISLATION STILL CONSISTS MAINLY OF REGRESSIVE NON-REFORMS The Senate Judiciary Committee has just passed another omnibus ethics bill, H.3184. The bill has a tortured history, having been completely rewritten several times. The amended bill is not yet available to the public (this is the case with more and more legislation, incidentally). […]

Ending Legal Corruption – A Progress Report

● House bill on self-policing further empowers legislature. ● House income disclosure bills still full of loopholes. ● House FOIA reform bill still allows lawmaker exemption. The 2016 legislative session has begun with the usual round of speculation, accusations, and factually challenged claims. In her State of the State address, for example, Gov. Nikki Haley left the […]

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. […]

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 […]

Lawmakers File Scores of ‘Ethics’ Bills for 2015

WHICH ONES DESERVE THE WORD ‘REFORM’? Two years ago, many, perhaps most, lawmakers dismissed the need for ethics reform. They know better now. As the 2015 session begins, already more than 30 ethics-related bills have been filed. Some would accomplish worthy goals, to be sure. Yet most contain troubling and dangerous provisions that would loosen rather […]

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 Ethics Bill: House vs. Senate

WHERE DOES THE ETHICS BILL STAND TODAY? The famous (and at times notorious) “ethics bill,” having recently passed the Senate, may soon head to conference committee. The House can propose an amendment to the bill passed by the Senate, and send it back to the Senate, which can either agree to the amended version or […]

Half-Year Legislative Sessions: WWFD?

S.C.’S SESSION SUFFOCATES REFORM AND CULTIVATES FULL-TIME POLITICIANS: WHAT WOULD THE FOUNDERS DO? The Policy Council has long taken the view that South Carolina’s legislative session is far too long. One might at first think a long session is necessary in order to let lawmakers “get things done,” but in part that’s precisely the problem […]

Reforms Pass in North Carolina … But Not Here

THE REASON HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH IDEOLOGY It’s a tale of two legislative sessions. In one state, lawmakers passed significant tax reform that lowers tax rates across the board, took a meaningful step towards school choice, and expanded Second Amendment rights. In another state, lawmakers talked a big game about government restructuring, reforming the […]