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Throwback Thursday: South Carolina’s “Legislative State”

January 16, 2020

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

January 9, 2020

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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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Throwback Thursday: Judicial Reform – a simple solution to a complex problem

December 19, 2019

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sc supreme court

For years, The Nerve has reported on the legislature’s control of the judiciary – specifically regarding the selection of local magistrates. In 2012, The Nerve revealed a loophole in the law which allows magistrates to stay in office indefinitely after their terms expire, giving their county Senate delegations – which could remove the magistrate at […]

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Throwback Thursday: The Most Powerful Lawmakers in South Carolina

December 12, 2019

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sc senate seats

With the start of the legislative session right around the corner, it’s a good time to review who’s actually in charge of state government (hint: It’s not the governor). In South Carolina, most of the essential functions of state government are controlled by a handful of lawmakers, who enjoy powerful board and commission positions and […]

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Throwback Thursday: Poor transparency for federal funds in the state budget

December 5, 2019

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Federal Spending South Carolina

A recent Pew Research Center report showed that federal dollars comprised roughly a third of states’ overall revenue in fiscal year 2017. This is precisely what the South Carolina Policy Council, The Nerve’s parent organization, has shown in budget reports year after year, but federal funds receive almost zero attention in the budget process, are […]

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Throwback Thursday: Lawmakers control the energy monopoly, not the PSC

November 21, 2019

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House-committee-room-e1503690091195

In a greatly anticipated decision regarding the future of solar energy in South Carolina, the Public Service Commission (the state’s utility regulators) favored the two investor-owned utilities – Duke Power and Dominion Energy – at the expense of small solar companies, according to solar advocates. The question before the PSC was essentially how much large […]

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Throwback Thursday: Harrell’s Indictments – What They Didn’t Include

November 14, 2019

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Gavel on Money

Five years ago last month, former S.C. House Speaker Bobby Harrell pleaded guilty to six counts of misuse of campaign funds, and agreed to resign his speakership and House seat. According to the Richland County indictments, Harrell, who received three years’ probation, claimed campaign-fund reimbursements for legislative travel in his private airplane, though some of […]

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Throwback Thursday: 2020 Budget Kickoff – Why Process Matters

November 7, 2019

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dollars coat of arms

The 2020 budget process officially began this month, with agency budget requests due to the governor by Nov. 1. According to news reports, lawmakers are likely to have at least an extra $1 billion to spend in the 2020 budget – in addition to the $350 million surplus leftover from the previous fiscal year. Unfortunately, […]

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Throwback Thursday: Not all state agencies comply with FOIA requests

October 31, 2019

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Freedom of information act South Carolina

This week a lawsuit filed by Sen. Dick Harpootlian over the Department of Commerce’s refusal to disclose records regarding two corporate incentive deals received a court hearing. During the hearing, Commerce Secretary Bobby Hitt defended the agency’s disclosure policies and stated that Harpootlian was the first to challenge Commerce’s actions in court. The state’s Freedom […]

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Throwback Thursday: Rising college tuition tied to increasing higher education debt

October 24, 2019

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A recent study covered by The Greenville News revealed that South Carolina has one of the highest student loan default rates in the country, with over one out of every ten students defaulting within two years of starting repayment. This is just the latest evidence of how increasingly unaffordable higher education is becoming for many […]

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