October 16, 2020

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Quietly passed laws give legislative delegations more powers

By RICK BRUNDRETT At least one thing didn’t change in the S.C. Legislature during the coronavirus outbreak this year: legislative delegations’ control over local affairs. Two delegations gained even more power. Last month, lawmakers quietly passed a Senate bill, which had stalled after COVID-19 hit the state in the spring, giving the three-member Hampton County […]

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October 14, 2020

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SC Launch records: Start-up companies failed to repay millions in financial aid

By RICK BRUNDRETT From December 2015 through April of this year, 16 start-up companies funded by SC Launch Inc., an affiliate of the state-created South Carolina Research Authority, did not repay nearly $5 million owed to the nonprofit, according to organization records. SC Launch Inc. was repaid a total of $19,152, which represented less than […]

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October 9, 2020

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$20M in COVID-19 funds earmarked for tourism marketing

By RICK BRUNDRETT Gov. Henry McMaster plans to spend $20 million in state surplus money in response to the coronavirus outbreak in South Carolina, but it’s not for more testing, treatment or protective gear such as face masks. Instead, those funds will be spent on tourism marketing – most of it going to five tourism […]

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October 7, 2020

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State AG seeking millions for his own agency from $600M plutonium deal

By RICK BRUNDRETT In touting a $600 million settlement with the federal government over plutonium storage in the state, S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson publicly described the deal as the “single largest settlement in South Carolina’s history.” But what Wilson, the state’s chief lawyer since 2011, didn’t mention in his Aug. 31 announcement was that […]

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October 2, 2020

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State health benefits offered to another part-time governing board

By RICK BRUNDRETT Another governing board of a state-created agency is under scrutiny over whether some board members are receiving state health-insurance benefits in violation of the law, The Nerve has learned. Two members of the S.C. Ports Authority Board of Directors participate in the state health plan, authority spokeswoman Liz Crumley said Tuesday when […]

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September 30, 2020

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Gas-tax-hike projects: Main contractors doing other SC jobs

By RICK BRUNDRETT The slow pace of fixing South Carolina’s bad roads and bridges since the state gas tax was hiked more than three years ago could be tied in part to who’s doing the work and what other projects those companies are handling, records show. The 10 highest-paid road contractors with gas-tax-hike revenues from […]

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September 25, 2020

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State health insurance benefits offered in violation of state law

By RICK BRUNDRETT Last month, the agency in charge of managing the state health plan informed state-owned utility Santee Cooper that members of the utility’s governing board were offered insurance benefits under the plan, though they weren’t eligible, records show. Santee Cooper communications director Mollie Gore told The Nerve that utility officials haven’t been able to […]

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September 23, 2020

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S.C. lawmakers continue tight grip on PSC elections

Update: The Legislature on Sept. 23, 2020, elected four newcomers to the S.C. Public Service Commission: Carolyn “Carolee” Williams, District 1; Stephen “Mike” Caston, District 3; Headen Thomas, District 5; and Delton Powers, District 7. By RICK BRUNDRETT For many South Carolinians, the size of their utility bills ultimately rests with state lawmakers. Not only […]

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September 18, 2020

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The $4 billion state officials are keeping secret

By RICK BRUNDRETT Many politicians and other government officials don’t want to publicly acknowledge the huge surpluses that state agencies accumulate year after year. Even amid the coronavirus outbreak in South Carolina, 101 state agencies and two major state accounts collectively ended the fiscal year on June 30 with at least $4.3 billion in “other” […]

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September 9, 2020

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SC motorists paying more taxes at the pump, still seeing slow results

By RICK BRUNDRETT Motorists in South Carolina are now paying 8 cents more per gallon since the state gas-tax-hike law took effect in July 2017 – and will face another collective 4-cent increase over the next two years. But repairs to the state’s pothole-riddled roads still have been moving at a slow pace. Newly released […]

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