Half of House budget meetings not streamed in first week

This week and last, House lawmakers on several powerful budget subcommittees have heard from state agencies about their spending plans, gathering data that will be used by the full Ways and Means Committee to produce the first legislative draft of the budget. Despite the tremendous stakes and obvious public interest, lawmakers have once again failed to ensure that all of …

Three crucial tax reforms for South Carolina

The S.C. Legislature convened for session this week, renewing calls to fix South Carolina’s dated and uncompetitive tax structure. This focus comes as our northern neighbor passed a significant tax cut last year, with Georgia making a smaller cut, making the Palmetto State’s years of inaction even more baffling.    Taxes can be complicated – our problems, however, are not. This report makes three …

Bills to watch in 2022

At the end of each year, state lawmakers file a series of bills (known as “prefiles”) in anticipation of the upcoming legislative session. The following report looks at some of the most significant House prefiles, organized by category, as well as two bills gaining traction relating to state Coivd policy.   Spending  These bills offer a glimpse into some of next year’s spending priorities. Unsurprisingly, based on this sample, …

SC legislative ethics process

South Carolina needs judicial reform

Prospective South Carolina judges are currently undergoing a legislatively controlled screening process with the hope of filling one of many vacancies on several powerful state courts.   But an analysis of the selection process reveals serious and unavoidable conflicts of interest that threaten the integrity of our judicial system. Who is in charge, why does it matter, and what needs …

Let’s pump the brakes on the electric vehicle panic

*** On Wednesday, a special legislative committee tasked with “modernizing” the state’s transportation funding system met for the second time, once again alleging that the rise in electric and hybrid vehicles pose an existential threat to the state’s gas tax revenue (which is how road projects in South Carolina are primarily funded). The committee, assembled by Senate Finance Chairman Hugh …

South Carolina freest state in the nation

Eight reforms to take your power back

. South Carolina has some of the most powerful politicians in the country. They exercise unwarranted powers over state government and the economy, and face very little accountability for their decisions – creating a breeding ground for corruption. How can South carolinians take their power back? (1)  RESTORE JUDICIAL INDEPENDENCE  The public deserves confidence that …

Delegations have a transparency problem: let’s fix it

Legislative delegations in South Carolina have a serious transparency problem. As it turns out, an alarming number of counties are missing basic information about legislative delegations on their websites. In fact, some counties don’t mention them at all. Citizens can’t hold their elected officials accountable if they don’t know what’s happening, and when it’s taking place. Here’s what you …

SC State House Happenings

Delegations in SC rank among most powerful in nation

South Carolina’s county legislative delegations, comprised of the lawmakers representing each of the state’s 46 counties, are among the most powerful in the nation. In fact, most states don’t even recognize such delegations, and where they do, many have weak, if any, power.   How common are delegations? SCPC and The Nerve have spent the last few months closely examining the power of legislative delegations in South Carolina. Our research has shown …

Delegation influence reaches state airports

By now, if you’ve been following the Policy Council’s latest research, it should come as no surprise to hear that legislative delegations (the group of state lawmakers representing a particular county) play an oversized role in filling important state and local positions, which has an effect on everything from education policy to the roads we drive on.  But this power extends far beyond the more predictable functions of government. Delegations also control …

Lawmakers still haven’t fixed SC’s magistrate problem

In South Carolina, magistrate judges have serious power, especially over the lives of everyday citizens. For many, their courtroom will be the final stop when it comes to adjudicating legal issues. This is why it is particularly alarming that in South Carolina, Senate delegations (often comprised of just one senator) still play a primary role in their appointment, as this influence totally undermines any chance of judicial independence. Our latest review of …