Intelligence-Gathering ‘Fusion Centers’ in the State Budget?

SHOULD S.C. PAY FOR SURVEILLANCE? Gov. Nikki Haley’s executive budget grabbed a few headlines for its items on education, transportation, and Medicaid waiver programs. One component of the budget was almost completely ignored, but it shouldn’t be. The governor’s proposed spending plan includes $8.5 million in total funds – $5.3 million from the federal government […]

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Top Ten Bills to Watch

KEEP AN EYE ON THESE Throughout December, lawmakers pre-filed their bills for the 2014 legislative session – 102 in the Senate and 83 in the House. It’s extremely difficult to predict which bills will be taken up and debated, and many excellent bills are unfortunately ignored. Some bills deserve attention on their merits, though – […]

Allowing Hemp Cultivation: WWFD?

ONCE UPON A TIME, THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT COULDN’T BAN A PRODUCT SIMPLY BECAUSE IT WANTED TO A bill pre-filed in the South Carolina Senate will likely attract a lot of attention. The legislation – S.839  (more of our analysis on the bill here) – is indirectly related to one of the most discussed political issues […]

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Unlawful Seizure of Cell Phones: What Would George Mason Say?

LIKE IT OR NOT, THE FOURTH AMENDMENT EXISTS Among the few excellent bills filed during the 2013 legislative session – and analyzed in our Best & Worst guide (download here) – is H.3059. This refreshingly short and uncomplicated bill would make it illegal for law enforcement officers to seize cell phones, video recorders, or other electronic recording devices at the […]

‘Restaurant Carry’: What Would the Founders Say?

FIRST, THEY’D SCRATCH THEIR HEADS AND ASK WHY IT WAS NECESSARY In this year’s Best & Worst of the General Assembly (and here’s a polite reminder that you can download your electronic copy here), we discussed a S.308 that would allow holders of concealed weapons permits, or CWPs, to carry their side arms into restaurants […]

Why S.C. Should Resist Federal Coercion on Gun Laws

OVERWHELMING EVIDENCE SUGGESTS POINTLESSNESS OF MORE GUN LAWS South Carolina, as we contended in an August commentary, doesn’t deserve its fiercely pro-gun reputation – at least, not if the criterion is state law rather than general attitudes. Unfortunately, however, state law isn’t the only thing South Carolina gun owners need to be concerned about. Another […]

What (Not) to Do about the Homeless

  A LOCAL GOVERNMENT PLAN TO DEFINE THE HOMELESS AS CRIMINALS PRESENTS ITS OWN SET OF PROBLEMS You don’t have to go to the shelter, but you can’t stay here. That’s essentially the message the Columbia City Council would send to the city’s homeless population if it were to pass Councilman Cameron Runyan’s  “Columbia Cares” […]

Best & Worst of the General Assembly is Here

WONDER WHAT YOUR LAWMAKERS WERE UP TO IN 2013? IT’S ALL HERE. Our annual guide to the year’s legislative session, The Best & Worst of the General Assembly, has been published. To download your electronic copy, click here.  As in years past, we covered a large number of bills. Although it’s not feasible to analyze […]

The Militarization of the Police

  POLICE OR SOLDIERS? Since the expansion of the drug war in the 1980s – and especially since the attacks of September 11th, 2001 – local police forces have been enthusiastically adopting military weapons and tactics, and the trend has been as evident in South Carolina as in other states. Whether and to what extent […]

Tax Collection: Law Enforcement’s New Role?

TO PROTECT, TO COLLECT, AND TO SERVE You know the feeling – the feeling you get when you return to your parked car and see the dreaded neon-colored slip of paper tucked under your windshield-wiper. The following analysis was prompted by that feeling. One of SCPC’s policy analysts received a ticket from the Folly Beach […]