July 16, 2021

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State, county websites offer scant information on legislative delegations

By RICK BRUNDRETT If you want to learn what your county legislative delegation is up to, you likely won’t find much – if any – information on county government websites or the state Legislature’s website. The state Supreme Court in 1996 ruled that legislative delegations, made up of senators and House members representing a county, […]

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July 14, 2021

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Legislative delegations skirting state open-meetings law

By RICK BRUNDRETT One day last month, state lawmakers representing Greenville County held separate meetings in a legislative building on the State House grounds in downtown Columbia – about 103 miles from Greenville – to discuss certain county board appointments that they control, as well as rules governing their delegation meetings. In the smaller Darlington […]

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July 9, 2021

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Few S.C. bridges fixed with gas-tax-hike money

By RICK BRUNDRETT Only three bridge projects have been completed in South Carolina with the nearly $2 billion in revenues collected under the 2017 state gas-tax-hike law, recently released transportation department records show. And although the S.C. Department of Transportation has identified 465 out of 750 “structurally deficient” bridges statewide to be replaced, other agency […]

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July 7, 2021

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Some state agency heads start new fiscal year with big pay raises

By RICK BRUNDRETT A legislatively controlled committee has given five-figure pay hikes to a group of state agency heads, and a new law empowers the panel to recommend raises next fiscal year for certain statewide elected officials. The Agency Head Salary Commission (AHSC) on Thursday– the start of the new fiscal year – approved the […]

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June 30, 2021

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Earmark secrecy continues as state budget goes into effect

By RICK BRUNDRETT In vetoing 226 budget earmarks totaling $152.5 million, Gov. Henry McMaster last week wrote that the “bulk of these earmarked appropriations still lack sufficient context, description, explanation of merit, or justification as to how the recipient intends to spend the funds.” That might be one of the biggest understatements on how lawmakers […]

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June 25, 2021

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State agencies claim taxpayers’ refunds to collect debts

By RICK BRUNDRETT Over the last five years, state agencies, including public colleges and a university hospital system, collected a total of nearly $95 million in past-due payments through deductions from state income-tax refunds, records reviewed by The Nerve show. A little-known state law, titled the “Setoff Debt Collection Act” (SDCA), allows state and local […]

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June 22, 2021

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Lawmakers approve massive state budget stuffed with pork projects

By RICK BRUNDRETT Lawmakers on Monday sent a strong message in adopting a state budget for the fiscal year that starts next week. Let the spending party begin – with your tax dollars. The Legislature overwhelmingly approved a $32.3 billion total budget for fiscal 2022, which includes state, federal and “other” funds, budget records show. […]

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June 18, 2021

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Santee Cooper board still has expired, vacant seats despite ‘reform’ law

Santee Cooper

By RICK BRUNDRETT Of the 12 seats on the board governing state-owned utility Santee Cooper, two are vacant while seven members are serving past their expired terms. A new law that purportedly will reform Santee Cooper – pushed by lawmakers after they couldn’t decide to sell the debt-burdened utility – doesn’t change the selection process […]

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June 16, 2021

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Lawmakers bypassing normal budget process to spend $600M settlement

Gavel on Money

By RICK BRUNDRETT Proceeds from a $600 million settlement with the federal government over plutonium storage in South Carolina weren’t included in any state budget versions crafted by lawmakers for the upcoming fiscal year. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t planning to spend the massive windfall. Last month, a joint resolution was quietly introduced in […]

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June 11, 2021

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Holes still exist in DOT’s pothole numbers

By RICK BRUNDRETT The number of potholes that the S.C. Department of Transportation claims it patched statewide jumped by more than 300,000 over the last four fiscal years, according to agency annual reports. The Nerve has reported that DOT’s annual numbers in recent years were merely estimates. But DOT now says the 678,984 potholes it […]

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