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 …

Explosive spending, questionable provisos define next year’s budget

State lawmakers this week approved what will be the final version of next fiscal year’s $32 billion-plus budget, pending vetoes issued by the governor. The General Assembly will take up any vetoed items when it reconvenes next Tuesday for the final time this month.   Not only is this budget the largest in state history, it contains a multitude of year-long provisos that alter state law and have little to do …

Bills filed during 5/11/21 – 5/13/21

Medical/Covid S.803 – Declaring that the Senate does not consent to extending the COVID-19 state of emergency without express consent of the General Assembly H.4388 – Banning mask mandates in schools and on school buses  H.4391 – Prohibiting businesses, educational institutions, or state/local government buildings from requiring proof of covid vaccination to gain entrance or …

Examining South Carolina’s massive proposed budget

While the 2021 regular legislative session ends this week, lawmakers are set to return to Columbia in June – possibly on three separate occasions – to address a number of matters as allowed per the end-of-session rules, or “sine die” resolution. The most immediate of these legislative responsibilities is passing the state budget, as the …

Bills filed during 5/4/21 – 5/6/21

Regulations H.4324 – Proposing a state constitutional amendment to lift the sales restriction on liquor between 7pm and 9am  H.4318 – Cable service providers must provide refunds for interruptions in service  S.793 – Employers are not allowed to consider or request disclosure of the criminal record of an applicant for employment until after the candidate …

Bills filed during 4/27/21 – 4/29/21

Government Structure H.4283 – Allowing the S.C. Supreme Court to declare a “Judicial Emergency”, which would let it delay hearings and deadlines, relocate court operations, and would overall broadly expand the court’s power and discretion during the emergency  H.4285 – Establishing the end-of-session rules (sine die). Scheduling special sessions during June, at which point lawmakers …

What’s going on with Santee Cooper?

UPDATE as of 5/7/21: This week, the House voted to keep the option to explore selling Santee Cooper in H.3194, while adopting some of the Senate’s “reform” measures, including those that would increase lawmakers’ power over the utility. The Senate version of the bill does not contain the option of selling Santee Cooper. Because of …

Bills filed during 4/20/21 – 4/22/21

Elections H.4255 – Numerous voting law changes: 1)  requiring poll workers wear body cameras; 2) journalists may not come within 200 yards of entrance of a voting place unless coming only to vote; 3) Voting machines must be equipped with GPS; 4) only the executive director of the State Election Commission may release unofficial election …