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 …

SC DOT Commission Gas Tax

Why don’t more counties control local road funding?

Despite the gas-tax-hike having passed in 2017, an alarming number of South Carolina’s roads and bridges are still crumbling. As bad as things are for state roads and highways, locally managed roads are sometimes in the worst condition, as they receive far less attention than big and costly transportation projects.   As lawmakers gear up for a new road funding bill heading into next year, it is crucial to emphasize that no amount …

SC State House Happenings

How small groups of lawmakers control massive state institutions

There is little question that South Carolina lawmakers exert tremendous power over state government, and consequently, the life everyday citizens. This topic is something the Policy Council has researched extensively over the years, and is perhaps best illustrated by our report titled “Who Runs South Carolina State Government?“ published in 2017.   Our latest project returns to the …

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 …

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 …

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 …