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 […]

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 […]

Government Transparency vs. Individual Privacy

IN SOUTH CAROLINA, THE TROUBLE WITH THE PUBLIC SECTOR IS THAT IT’S BECOMING PRIVATE . . . AND VICE VERSA It’s common shorthand to refer to the governmental and non-governmental workforces as the “public” and “private” sector. These terms make sense, too. Yet in recent weeks South Carolina state government seems bent on reversing their […]

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Last Minute Chances at Ethics Reform?

THE CLOCK IS TICKING… An omnibus “ethics” bill has passed the House and the Senate in different versions. That bill, which could be considered more of an income disclosure bill than a real ethics reform bill in its latest version, is currently awaiting debate in the House. With time running out this session, the chance […]

Half Time Ethics Report

It’s the beginning of April and lawmakers‘ two-week furlough is almost up, leaving us at roughly the half-way point of the 2013 legislative session. This was supposed to be the Year of Ethics Reform, but is it? Below is a “half-time report” detailing what’s been done already and what’s yet to be done. While some […]