January 23, 2020

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Throwback Thursday: Lawmakers ignore legal deadline for joint budget hearings

House-committee-room-e1503690091195

  Monday of this week marked the deadline, as set by state law, for the lawmakers to begin joint, open hearings on the governor’s budget. According to state law, the governor’s draft of the budget is due five days after the beginning of session (the law does not specify whether these are calendar or work […]

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January 22, 2020

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Some lawmakers off to a fast start – looking after their wallets?

By RICK BRUNDRETT Although S.C. lawmakers have been back in session only since last week, some of them aren’t waiting to author or co-sponsor bills that could boost their own bottom lines. And a longstanding state ethics law gives them a big legal loophole to push for such legislation. Under a House bill prefiled in […]

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January 17, 2020

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Taxpayer, ratepayer tab totals $9M so far for review of secret Santee Cooper bids

Santee Cooper

By RICK BRUNDRETT Eight private firms hired by the state to evaluate proposals for the sale or management of state-owned utility Santee Cooper have charged a total of more than $9.2 million – $5 million of it covered by taxpayers – for their work, newly released records show. And the overall bill to ratepayers with […]

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January 16, 2020

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Throwback Thursday: South Carolina’s “Legislative State”

SC Statehouse

As the 2020 legislative session kicks off, it’s important to remember that the General Assembly doesn’t just control the legislative branch of government. Lawmakers also control many of the more important executive functions, and they select the judges who interpret the laws. This structure is often termed “the Legislative State,” though that is not a […]

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January 14, 2020

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PSC seats in limbo again after legislatively controlled panel delays nominations

By RICK BRUNDRETT Another year, another convoluted legislative process for selecting six-figure state Public Service Commission members, who can greatly affect utility bills for many South Carolinians. The State Regulation of Public Utilities Review Committee (PURC) was scheduled to screen a total of 17 candidates over two days last week for four open seats on […]

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January 10, 2020

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Hundreds of unfinished paving projects in SC despite huge gas-tax-hike surplus

By RICK BRUNDRETT Although nearly $1 billion has been collected since the state gas-tax-hike law went into effect more than two years ago, the S.C. Department of Transportation has completed less than 20% of identified paving projects statewide with those funds, newly released agency records show. The Nerve’s latest review found that of a total […]

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January 9, 2020

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Throwback Thursday: Another law or rule won’t stop legislative pork spending

A recent news story reported how lawmakers routinely funnel funding for secret pet projects through the state budget – a nontransparent process where project details are not disclosed in the budget, and instructions for how to spend those dollars are given by legislative staffers only after the budget has passed. As a result, some lawmakers […]

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January 7, 2020

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Ex-lawmaker withdraws as PSC candidate; legislators still control nominations, elections

By RICK BRUNDRETT Former longtime state House member Chip Limehouse confirmed Monday he is no longer a candidate for a six-figure seat on the legislatively controlled S.C. Public Service Commission, though another ex-lawmaker is scheduled to be screened Wednesday for a separate PSC seat. Limehouse, a Charleston County Republican who was a House member from […]

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December 23, 2019

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Happy Holidays, Y’all!

To Our Readers: The Nerve is not planning to publish new stories this week and next week in observance of the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. Thank you for all your support this year, and we are planning many hard-hitting stories for 2020 to hold politicians and other public officials accountable. So stay tuned! 

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December 20, 2019

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SCPRT secretive about renters at Governor’s Mansion complex

By RICK BRUNDRETT Since Henry McMaster became governor in 2017, the state’s tourism agency has received more than $675,000 from renting the historic Lace House at the Governor’s Mansion complex in downtown Columbia, records show. But the S.C. Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism (SCPRT)  ) – whose director, Duane Parrish, is a member of […]

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