South Carolina State House Happenings

Transparency check-in: streaming at the Statehouse

To encourage more transparency in state government, SCPC has been examining how frequently legislative committee meetings are livestreamed to the public. These committees have the important job of reviewing and approving bills before they reach the House and Senate floor, and committee members will often propose changes in the process. We contend that streaming during …

SCPC Voter Poll Release (May 31 – Jun 3, 2022)

. . Inflation, gas prices are top concerns for SC voters as lawmakers return to Columbia for special session Inflation and gas prices are among the most pressing concerns for South Carolina voters. Voters also feel positive towards legislative reform efforts focused on taxes, education, elections and transparency.    82% of likely S.C. 2022 general election …

Analysis: School board transparency is great, but lawmakers should lead by example

The Senate last week unanimously passed a bill pushing South Carolina’s school boards to livestream their meetings. Despite some issues in its execution, this is a much-needed policy – one that is central to the Policy Council’s goal of empowering citizens through transparency in government. At the same time, however, the proposal highlights a double standard by …

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 …

How Can Citizens Get Answers on Roads?

THE SYSTEM MAKES IT DIFFICULT – BUT IT’S NOT IMPOSSIBLE South Carolina’s transportation system is not accountable to any one elected official, and that’s by design. Even so, after several years of pressure from citizens and some piecemeal changes to the law, there are ways for South Carolinians to engage with transportation policymakers. (1) Citizens …

Disclosure: What the Law Does & Doesn’t Require

LAST YEAR’S DISCLOSURE LAW LEAVES OUT A LOT – A LOT THAT YOU CAN ASK FOR Last month, we launched Project Income Disclosure with the aim of giving citizens a way to ask for voluntary transparency on matters of income. Taxpayers have a right to know about the financial relationships existing between their elected officials and …

Freedom of Information in S.C. – An Experiment

WE SENT SIMPLE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUESTS TO ELEVEN STATE AGENCIES. HERE’S WHAT WE FOUND. The purpose of the federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), passed in the aftermath of the Watergate scandal, was to make information possessed by government available to the public. Every state has an equivalent law, and any citizen – whether …

South Carolina budget legislation

Income Disclosure Bill Becomes Law

BUT THE NEW LAW WON’T TELL YOU MUCH ABOUT CONFLICTS OF INTEREST The legislature has now passed, and the governor signed, allegedly groundbreaking “ethics reform” legislation on the investigation of lawmakers and income disclosure. Why does income disclosure matter? Currently, state lawmakers are required to disclose almost nothing about their sources of income. That means, among …

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. …