February 16, 2018

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Lawyer-lawmakers play large role in electing S.C. judges

south carolina judicial department, judiciary

By RICK BRUNDRETT S.C. Supreme Court Chief Justice Donald Beatty is a former state House member. So is James Lockemy, chief judge of the S.C. Court of Appeals, the state’s second-highest court. The road from the State House to the court house historically has been an easy one, as The Nerve has previously reported. Last […]

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February 14, 2018

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Controversial DOT commissioner paid by trade group for ‘consulting’ work with public agencies

By RICK BRUNDRETT A state transportation commissioner with ties to an advertising company that has a lucrative Department of Transportation contract also is a paid consultant with a lobbying trade group that receives thousands of dollars annually from other public agencies. Public and private entities eligible for public service announcements (PSAs) have paid the Outdoor […]

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February 9, 2018

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Will S.C. governor reappoint powerful senator’s relative to DOT Commission?

By RICK BRUNDRETT Time is fast running out for Gov. Henry McMaster to decide whether to reappoint the son-in-law of Sen. Hugh Leatherman – one of the state’s most powerful lawmakers who exerts tremendous control over transportation spending – to the S.C. Department of Transportation Commission. Commissioner John Hardee came under scrutiny in 2015 when […]

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February 7, 2018

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State senators want more hands-on control in nuclear project fiasco

By RICK BRUNDRETT Update: After this story was published this morning, a Senate Judiciary subcommittee voted to amend the joint resolution (S. 954) to drop the “experimental rate” language, which would effectively keep the V.C. Summer portion of South Carolina Electric & Gas electric rates pending a new order by the state Public Service Commission. […]

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February 2, 2018

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State panel continues tradition of secrecy in awarding incentives

closed meeting

By RICK BRUNDRETT A state panel Thursday approved an unspecified amount of taxpayer-backed incentives for at least 12 “confidential” economic development projects across South Carolina. The projects, identified only by code numbers, are located in Aiken, Berkeley, Clarendon, Greenwood, Hampton, Marion, Orangeburg, Sumter and York counties, according to an Enterprise Program Committee meeting agenda. The […]

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February 1, 2018

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Court budget plan, Senate bill call for big judicial pay hikes

Gavel on Money

By RICK BRUNDRETT South Carolina’s higher-level judges would receive pay hikes ranging from 20 to 33 percent under a state Judicial Department budget proposal and separate Senate bill. A revised 2018-19 budget plan submitted on Jan. 18 by the Judicial Department, which initially requested 10 percent across-the-board raises, would increase salaries for judges and justices […]

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January 26, 2018

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‘Reform’ bill would give more control to this South Carolina power broker

By RICK BRUNDRETT One of South Carolina’s most powerful lawmakers would gain even more control under a just-passed House bill purporting to reform an influential screening panel in the aftermath of the failed V.C. Summer project. House bill 4378 would automatically put Senate President Pro Tempore Hugh Leatherman, R-Florence, or his designee on the proposed […]

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January 24, 2018

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State utility watchdog rarely bared teeth in V.C. Summer debacle

By RICK BRUNDRETT Over the years, the state’s utility watchdog acted more like a lapdog in reviewing rate hikes for the now-abandoned V.C. Summer nuclear project. The S.C. Office of Regulatory Staff (ORS), which under state law is supposed to represent ratepayers’ interests, didn’t oppose any of the nine South Carolina Electric & Gas rate […]

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January 19, 2018

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Glowing job reviews routine for those who approved V.C. Summer rate hikes

Good job

  By RICK BRUNDRETT The S.C. Public Service Commission members who approved nine rate hikes for the failed V.C. Summer nuclear project have performed flawlessly in their six-figure jobs – at least in the eyes of the legislative committee that essentially controls them. A review by The Nerve of annual work-performance reviews done by the […]

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January 17, 2018

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Powerful State House panel behind blueprint for South Carolina’s nuclear push

PURC Report

By RICK BRUNDRETT Nearly a decade ago, an influential state legislative committee quietly released a report advocating a quick expansion of nuclear energy in South Carolina, claiming, for instance, the small state might face power shortages and blackouts by 2016. Those dire predictions didn’t come true. As the now-abandoned V.C. Summer construction project in Fairfield County […]

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