Senate’s Latest Version of ‘Ethics Reform’

  DANGEROUS ‘ELECTIONEERING’ PROVISION SCRAPPED, BUT LEGISLATION STILL CONSISTS MAINLY OF REGRESSIVE NON-REFORMS The Senate Judiciary Committee has just passed another omnibus ethics bill, H.3184. The bill has a tortured history, having been completely rewritten several times. The amended bill is not yet available to the public (this is the case with more and more legislation, incidentally). …

Ending Legal Corruption – A Progress Report

● House bill on self-policing further empowers legislature. ● House income disclosure bills still full of loopholes. ● House FOIA reform bill still allows lawmaker exemption. The 2016 legislative session has begun with the usual round of speculation, accusations, and factually challenged claims. In her State of the State address, for example, Gov. Nikki Haley left the …

South Carolina’s Endless Legislative Session

● South Carolina’s session is one of the nation’s longest ● Longer sessions mean lawmakers spending more time with lobbyists ● In South Carolina, there are about two lobbyists for every one lawmaker ● Last year, lobbyists in South Carolina made more than $15 million ● At least three current bills would significantly shorten session South Carolina’s legislative session can …

Taking the Power Back: Eight Reforms

HOW CAN WE MAKE SOUTH CAROLINA’S POLITICIANS THE LEAST POWERFUL AND MOST ACCOUNTABLE IN THE NATION? (1)  Restore judicial independence. The public deserves confidence that judges rule independently of the legislature whose laws they judge. South Carolina is the only state in the nation in which the legislature unilaterally appoints judges even when vacancies arise. …

How Lawmakers Have Made Themselves FTEs

‘IF THEY BELIEVE THEY AREN’T BEING PROPERLY COMPENSATED FOR THE WORK THEY DO, THEY SHOULD REDUCE THEIR WORKLOAD’ Watch the General Assembly long enough and you’re sure to hear the popular complaint about how South Carolina lawmakers are underpaid. Rep. Bruce Bannister (R-Greenville) recently proposed an amendment to a budget bill to provide a substantial pay increase …

Why the ‘Uber Legislation’ Is a Missed Opportunity

LAWMAKERS HAD A CHANCE TO ADVANCE ECONOMIC FREEDOM IN SOUTH CAROLINA. THEY MISSED IT. Lawmakers have introduced a number of bills this session designed to clear up the legality of ride-sharing services in South Carolina, and all of them have accepted the premise that the industry needs state regulation rather than freedom from it. Rather …

Who Holds the General Assembly Accountable?

ANSWER: NO ONE. CONSIDER A RECENT ATTEMPT TO RAISE REVENUE IN THE SENATE. The General Assembly has long dominated South Carolina politics. Members of the House of Representative and Senate elect judges, perform executive functions such as procurement, and investigate and punish ethics violations in their own bodies. The pervasive nature of legislative dominance is …