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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April 7, 2021

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McMaster receives gifts totaling tens of thousands of dollars

By RICK BRUNDRETT Over the past four years as South Carolina’s governor, Henry McMaster received a total of more than $87,000 in gifts, The Nerve found in a review of his annual income-disclosure reports. Of the $87,695 in freebies, $24,679, or 28%, came from the Washington, D.C.-based Republican Governors Association (RGA), mainly for flights, hotel […]

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April 2, 2021

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Pothole palooza: SCDOT claims it patches hundreds of thousands of holes

By RICK BRUNDRETT In its latest annual report, the S.C. Department of Transportation claimed it patched about 679,300 potholes statewide during fiscal year 2020. Based on those numbers, an average of 14,767 potholes were filled from July 1, 2019, through June 30, 2020, in each of the state’s 46 counties, though the annual report, provided […]

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March 26, 2021

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Millions more proposed by S.C. House for ‘tourism marketing’

By RICK BRUNDRETT Nearly $30 million in tax dollars could flow next fiscal year through the state tourism agency to regional tourism organizations for “tourism marketing” – with reduced or no private grant matches in contrast to larger matches required in prior years. The S.C. House version of the state budget for fiscal year 2022 […]

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March 24, 2021

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Legislative delegations attempting heavy hand – again – in local matters

By RICK BRUNDRETT Like spring flowers, bills showcasing the powers of county legislative delegations are blooming at the State House these days. The Legislature last week passed a bill, sponsored by Sen. Kevin Johnson, D-Clarendon, and introduced just eight days earlier, that would consolidate Clarendon County School District 2 and the recently created District 4 […]

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March 19, 2021

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State spending continues to swell amid pandemic

By RICK BRUNDRETT When the full S.C. House meets next week to debate the fiscal 2022 state budget, it will consider a plan that’s at least $1 billion bigger than the budget in effect when the COVID-19 pandemic hit South Carolina. And that doesn’t include billions more in recently awarded federal Covid-relief funding for the […]

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March 17, 2021

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Taxpayer tab for Leatherman Terminal projects could grow much bigger

By RICK BRUNDRETT A new Port of Charleston terminal – named after powerful S.C. Sen. Hugh Leatherman – already comes with a related, massive state taxpayer bill that could skyrocket under a new proposal pushed by the longtime lawmaker. The “Hugh K. Leatherman Terminal,” a state Ports Authority facility in North Charleston that is scheduled […]

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March 12, 2021

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Lawmakers seek to regain control over who heads county VA offices

By RICK BRUNDRETT Two years ago, lawmakers created the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, a stand-alone state agency aimed at helping to provide services to the thousands of veterans in South Carolina. With the creation of the new agency, county legislative delegations lost their sole power to fire the county veterans’ affairs officer (CVAO) in their […]

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March 10, 2021

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Secrecy still order of the day in S.C. court system

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By RICK BRUNDRETT If an ethics complaint is filed against a South Carolina judge, in most cases the public will never learn the details. That’s because court rules adopted by the five-member S.C. Supreme Court – the state’s top court – largely ensure secrecy in the process. For example, under court rules, misconduct proceedings against […]

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