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State court system keeps staff salaries secret from the public

November 20, 2020

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south carolina judicial department, judiciary

By RICK BRUNDRETT The S.C. Judicial Department – the third branch of state government – is refusing to publicly reveal salaries of its own employees, contending it isn’t legally required to do so. The Nerve on Oct. 18 submitted a request to the department under the state Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) asking for the […]

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How PSC squelched public comment on Dominion rate-hike request

November 17, 2020

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Update: 11/18/20 – The S.C. Public Service Commission today voted to hold two additional public hearings in the first week of January on Dominion Energy’s proposed electric rate hike. The hearings will be held from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 5, and from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 7. […]

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Commerce wants fed tax dollars for staff time spent on COVID-19

November 13, 2020

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By RICK BRUNDRETT The S.C. Department of Commerce doesn’t employ any medical or infectious disease experts, but the agency is seeking $250,000 in federal funds to reimburse itself for staff time spent on coronavirus-related tasks. The state earlier this year received $1.9 billion in federal “Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security” (CARES) funds. Under a […]

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State stonewalls public comment on proposed Dominion rate hike

November 10, 2020

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V.C. Summer Nuclear Station

By RICK BRUNDRETT Dominion Energy electric customers in South Carolina are angry. They were promised a rate cut following the 2017 collapse of the $9 billion V.C. Summer nuclear project. But Virginia-based Dominion now wants a significant rate hike. And the state panel that will decide whether to approve the nearly 8% rate hike has […]

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S.C. Senate staffers quietly receive pay raises

November 6, 2020

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SC Senate Chamber

By RICK BRUNDRETT Since last December, 15 S.C. Senate staffers, including the chamber’s top administrator, received pay hikes of up to nearly 34%, The Nerve found in a review of chamber records. The top-paid staffer is Jeff Gossett, who, as the Senate clerk, manages the $16.3 million, 46-member chamber. He makes $225,000 annually, an increase […]

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Public agencies spend thousands on lobbyists during COVID-19 outbreak

October 27, 2020

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By RICK BRUNDRETT The spread of the coronavirus in South Carolina didn’t stop public agencies’ spending on lobbying lawmakers and other state government officials. From Jan. 1 through May 31, 44 state and local entities, including state-created agencies such as Santee Cooper and local fire and water/sewer districts, collectively spent at least $812,661 on lobbyists, […]

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No big gains over the summer in fixing SC’s bad roads

October 20, 2020

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By RICK BRUNDRETT In theory, the pace of fixing South Carolina’s pothole-riddled roads should have increased over the hot summer months. The reality, however, was different. The Nerve’s review of newly released S.C. Department of Transportation records found that through September, the total dollar value of completed “pavements” projects statewide was less than half of […]

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Quietly passed laws give legislative delegations more powers

October 16, 2020

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

October 14, 2020

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

October 9, 2020

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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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