May 12, 2021

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Millions more proposed for Senate, House chambers under state spending plan

SC Senate Chamber

By RICK BRUNDRETT The Senate’s version of the state budget for the upcoming fiscal year includes more than $1.2 billion in surplus money, though none of it would be refunded to taxpayers. Instead, senators would spend $4.2 million of the windfall on its own chamber and give another $2.2 million from the surplus to the […]

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May 7, 2021

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Attorney with ties to SC senator wins judgeship

south carolina judicial department, judiciary

By RICK BRUNDRETT An attorney who works in a state senator’s law firm is Spartanburg County’s new master-in-equity judge – less than three months after the county’s legislative delegation, of which the senator is a member, quietly nominated her. The Senate and House this week confirmed Shannon Phillips, an attorney in Sen. Scott Talley’s law […]

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May 5, 2021

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Big government grows with new state agencies

By RICK BRUNDRETT No matter who’s in charge, state government in South Carolina just keeps getting bigger. Three stand-alone state agencies created since Republican Henry McMaster became governor in 2017 – the departments of Veterans’ Affairs and Children’s Advocacy, and the newest agency, the Office of Resilience – would have combined total budgets of $173 […]

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April 30, 2021

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Gas-tax-hike piggy bank keeps growing fatter

By RICK BRUNDRETT Through March, a special fund created with the state gas-tax-hike law had a cash balance of nearly $824 million and racked up more than $26 million in investment earnings on surpluses since July 2017, records show. The $823.8 million surplus in the “Infrastructure Maintenance Trust Fund” as of March 31 represented nearly […]

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April 28, 2021

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Senators pushing plenty of pork projects through taxpayer-funded earmarks

By RICK BRUNDRETT S.C. senators want to spend nearly $108 million next fiscal year on dozens of pet projects by funneling the money through state agencies that typically didn’t request the public dollars. More than half of the $107.9 million in labeled earmarks for fiscal year 2022, which starts July 1, would be spent collectively […]

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April 23, 2021

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SCDOT denies most pothole-damage claims by motorists

By RICK BRUNDRETT Over the past three years, the S.C. Department of Transportation denied a total of nearly 2,300 pothole-damage claims filed by motorists statewide – more than half of all such requests received during the period, The Nerve found in a review of agency records. Motorists collectively sought more than $4.8 million in 4,325 […]

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April 21, 2021

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Lawmakers pushing for more power in home counties

By RICK BRUNDRETT State lawmakers are continuing to push bills that would increase legislative delegations’ powers over local K-12 schools and other public agencies in their home counties. Today, for example, the House Education and Public Works Committee, chaired by Rep. Rita Allison, R-Spartanburg, is scheduled to consider a Senate bill that would allow a […]

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April 16, 2021

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Santee Cooper, Ports Authority board members paid thousands for part-time gig

By RICK BRUNDRETT Unlike panels overseeing other state agencies, the governing boards of the state-created Ports Authority and utility Santee Cooper are paid thousands of dollars annually for their part-time jobs, records show. Most members of the Ports Authority Board of Directors made $11,700 last year, while members of the Santee Cooper Board of Directors […]

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April 14, 2021

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Senators keep tight control over county magistrates

  By RICK BRUNDRETT If there’s one power that S.C. senators likely will never relinquish – at least willingly – it’s their control over the selection of the state’s more than 300 county magistrates. Magistrates, who handle traffic tickets and other relatively minor criminal and civil cases, know how much authority senators can exercise even […]

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April 9, 2021

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Senator: Lawmakers left out of loop on Leatherman’s $550M bond proposal

By RICK BRUNDRETT Claiming that many lawmakers had little or no notice of a $550 million taxpayer-backed bond plan for projects at the Port of Charleston, a senator has proposed expanding the Ports Authority governing board to include the heads of the state Commerce and Transportation departments. Besides making Commerce secretary Bobby Hitt and DOT […]

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