February 12, 2019

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Taxpayer cost grows for high-priced consultants in wake of V.C. Summer fiasco

  By RICK BRUNDRETT Since the 2017 collapse of the V.C. Summer nuclear project – which the Legislature made possible through a quietly passed law 10 years earlier – lawmakers and state utility regulators collectively have spent at least $729,000 on consultants hired to give them advice or issue reports. The total includes $379,203 this […]

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February 8, 2019

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How S.C. lawmakers try to intimidate citizens and groups they don’t like

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By RICK BRUNDRETT For years, S.C. lawmakers have repeatedly tried through legislation and other means to intimidate citizens who run for legislative seats, raise ethical questions about legislators’ official or campaign activities, or criticize their positions on issues. And lawmakers show no signs of letting up – at least not in this legislative session. The […]

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February 5, 2019

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Senators continue tradition of keeping magistrates on short leashes

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By RICK BRUNDRETT In South Carolina, state senators largely control the selection of more than 300 county magistrates, who handle thousands of relatively minor criminal and civil cases annually. That power is amplified when magistrates finish their terms without being reappointed, a period known as “holdover” status in which they can serve indefinitely – and […]

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January 31, 2019

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SCDOT plan for gas-tax-hike money focused on interstates

By RICK BRUNDRETT The state transportation department plans to spend well more than a third of gas-tax-hike revenues on widening and repaving interstates instead of using those funds to repair crumbling community roads and bridges – as promised by lawmakers – according to an agency document obtained by The Nerve. In a PowerPoint presentation to […]

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January 25, 2019

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Big chunk of gas-tax-hike money not going to major road, bridge repairs

By RICK BRUNDRETT Last June, S.C. Department of Transportation commissioner Robert “Robby” Robbins questioned agency head Christy Hall whether the worst roads in the state were being fixed. “I want a system-wide analysis of which roads are the worst, and I want money to go there first … and I don’t think we are doing […]

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January 23, 2019

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S.C. lawmakers likely to fill PSC seat with one of two insiders

Update: On 2/6/19, the Legislature in a joint session voted 99-1 to elect former longtime PSC attorney Florence Belser to the congressional District 2 PSC seat after incumbent Elliott Elam withdrew from the race. The only lawmaker who voted against Belser was Rep. Jonathon Hill, R-Anderson. By RICK BRUNDRETT After nearly a year and a […]

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January 19, 2019

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S.C. lawmakers treated to out-of-state conferences on taxpayers’ dime

By RICK BRUNDRETT South Carolina taxpayers last fiscal year shelled out more than $50,000 to send 27 lawmakers to “educational” conferences across the country, travel records reviewed by The Nerve show. Most of those lawmakers who took trips in 2017 didn’t specify the reimbursed expenses on their latest annual income-disclosure reports, The Nerve’s review found […]

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January 15, 2019

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Fewer potholes repaired through SCDOT call center, despite ‘blitz’ campaign

By RICK BRUNDRETT Last week, the S.C. Department of Transportation announced it was launching a “Pothole Blitz” to repair what it contends is a growing number of potholes statewide brought on by recent heavy rains. “It is expected that these additional efforts will take several weeks before we return to normal patching activities,” Leland Colvin, […]

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January 10, 2019

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S.C. agriculture agency wants millions for ‘build-it-and-they-will-come’ program

By RICK BRUNDRETT The S.C. Department of Agriculture, which for years has been involved with taxpayer-backed economic development projects, now wants millions to construct buildings statewide in hopes of attracting new agribusinesses. In his written budget request for the 2019-20 fiscal year, Agriculture Commissioner Hugh Weathers said the agency needed another $1 million to “continue […]

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January 8, 2019

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Private individuals’ financial records fair game under S.C. House bill

By RICK BRUNDRETT Private citizens could be forced to testify before and turn over their financial records to S.C. House or Senate committees under a House bill filed for the new legislative session that starts today. Contacted Monday by The Nerve, former Rep. Mike Pitts, R-Laurens, who announced last month he was resigning from office […]

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