Senate Passes ‘Independent [sic] Investigation’ Bill

LEGISLATIVE SELF-POLICING REARRANGED, NOT ELIMINATED Yesterday the Senate amended H.3184, which deals with the legislature’s system of self-policing – i.e. lawmakers adjudicating each other’s ethics violations in the form of House and Senate ethics committees. While the concerning provisions remain the same (they’re explained here), senators made these changes. It would now take a three-fourths […]

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UPDATE: Senate Moves on Income Disclosure

INCOME DISCLOSURE, WITH LOOPHOLES Senators seemed determined this week to not let another session go by without addressing “ethics reform” – although nothing that’s likely to pass the legislature will change their conduct in the least. After several days of debating an omnibus ethics bill that’s no longer omnibus, the Senate seemed to stall on […]

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UPDATE: Senate Addresses Ethics Legislation

THE SENATE BILL IS GONE. THE HOUSE BILL IS BACK. WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN? The ethics debate in the Senate got very interesting this week as the Senate took up H.3184 the “ethics” bill on special order. In order to explain exactly what happened in the Senate chamber, we first need to provide some […]

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Does the Constitution Require Self-Policing?

THE SHORT ANSWER: OF COURSE NOT Many, if not most, South Carolina state lawmakers have a peculiar understanding of the separation of powers. For them, the principle seems to mean that all powers should be removed from the executive and judicial branches and concentrated in the legislature. In the ongoing debate over ethics reform, for instance, several lawmakers […]

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What Happened to Business Tax Reform?

● Major reforms no longer under discussion ● One bill would put nonprofits in charge of business taxes ● Legislation would allow lobbyist principals to set taxes ● Municipal, county associations would handle confidential tax docs For a year or more, some reform-minded Columbia politicos have been discussing the need for business tax reform. Among […]

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Bill Would Send More Subsidies to Farms

FARMERS WERE HIT HARD DURING LAST OCTOBER’S FLOODS. SO WERE MANY OTHERS. BUT ARE MORE GOVERNMENT SUBSIDIES ALWAYS THE ANSWER? [Note: Gov. Haley signed this bill in June, 2016.] Thousands of individuals and businesses have received governmental assistance following South Carolina’s historic rainfall and flooding in October of 2015. However, one industry in particular has […]

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The Gas Tax Debate: How We Got Here

Lawmakers have bypassed the public, the law, their own rules, and the constitution to get a gas tax through the Senate. Citizens deserve better. Legislation to raise the gas tax and a host of fees is now before the Senate. It’s currently held up by a filibuster. For the bill to get as far as it has, […]

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ANALYSIS: Abolishing Certificate of Need Laws

EXCELLENT REFORM MADE MEANINGLESS BY ONE AMENDMENT H.3250 is the most significant health care reform introduced so far this session. At the end of the 2015 session, the bill would have, beginning in 2018, repealed state laws that establish and regulate the Certificate of Needs (CON) program in South Carolina. The bill was recently made significantly […]

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ANALYSIS: New ‘Workforce Development’ Bill

WHEN DOES ‘WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT’ BECOME CENTRAL PLANNING? Update: This bill was amended and much was taken out from the original legislation. The Council is now essentially a glorified study committee, which will “make recommendations to the General Assembly concerning matters related to workforce development.” The term “workforce development” refers – usually – to government-funded programs to […]

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Ready to Watch Lawmakers Not Follow the Law?

THE STATE BUDGET LAW – WHAT IT IS, WHY IT MATTERS, WHY LAWMAKERS IGNORE IT Debate over the state budget has already started, but you don’t know anything about it. Of course, that’s intentional. Legislative leaders have long preferred to keep the public out of discussions of each year’s state spending plan, and this year will be […]