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Plenty of pork in governor’s proposed state spending plan

January 22, 2021

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By RICK BRUNDRETT In touting Gov. Henry McMaster’s proposed fiscal 2022 state budget, his office in a recent news release contended it “significantly invests in the state’s core functions of government” while “maintaining his commitment” to “fiscally responsible practices.” But although emergency spending in response to the coronavirus outbreak in South Carolina likely will continue […]

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Lawmakers want to grow size of state’s top court – and their control over judges

January 20, 2021

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By RICK BRUNDRETT The powerful S.C. House speaker, who controls half of the appointments on a committee that nominates judges for election in the Legislature, wants to expand the size of the state’s highest court and eliminate the cap on judicial nominees. Rep. Jay Lucas, R-Darlington, is the main sponsor of a joint resolution calling […]

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Priorities ignored in awarding Covid grants to some SC nonprofits?

January 15, 2021

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By RICK BRUNDRETT In announcing recently that 686 nonprofit organizations in South Carolina would receive a total of $25 million in federal coronavirus-relief grants, state officials said the recipients received a “successful due diligence review” by a legislatively created panel. A state Department of Administration (SCDOA) spokeswoman told The Nerve last week in a written […]

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Lawmakers continue looking after their own business interests

January 13, 2021

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By RICK BRUNDRETT As lawmakers return to Columbia this week to consider big issues such as the ongoing response to the coronavirus outbreak in South Carolina and the possible sale of state-owned utility Santee Cooper, some legislators are introducing bills that ultimately could fatten their own wallets. And state law allows it. Take Sen. Brad […]

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New year, same road problems persist in SC

January 8, 2021

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By RICK BRUNDRETT If one of your New Year’s resolutions is to drive over pothole-free roads in South Carolina, you probably should choose a different goal. The Nerve’s review of recently released state Department of Transportation records found that since the gas-tax-hike law took effect July 1, 2017, through Nov. 30 of last year, the […]

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Lawmaker-controlled panel violates state law – again

January 6, 2021

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By RICK BRUNDRETT A legislatively controlled committee has once again violated a state law requiring that it provide the General Assembly with written individual evaluations of S.C. Public Service Commission members. The seven-member PSC’s authority includes setting utility rates for investor-owned gas and electric utilities. The PSC is holding additional public hearings this week on […]

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‘Exempt’ state agencies staffed with $100K+ workers

December 18, 2020

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By RICK BRUNDRETT Two months ago, The Nerve asked the state-created South Carolina Research Authority for a list of its employees making at least $50,000 annually. In one-sentence written response, the SCRA – which has a state mandate to “advance the general welfare” of South Carolinians – said only that it “does not have taxpayer […]

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Attorney who works in SC senator’s law firm one step closer to judgeship

December 16, 2020

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By RICK BRUNDRETT With 2021 nearly here, S.C. lawmakers likely won’t be making any New Year’s resolutions to loosen their tight grip on the state court system. Legislative leaders have shown little interest in giving up power over the judicial selection process – which often favors friends and business associates of lawmakers. Sen. Scott Talley, […]

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No shortage of budget pork amid COVID-19 outbreak

December 11, 2020

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By RICK BRUNDRETT When lawmakers return in January for a new legislative session, they likely will claim they will have far less money to spend next fiscal year because of the coronavirus outbreak. But state government is far from poor, at least judging by agencies’ budget requests for fiscal 2021-22, which starts July 1 – […]

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Plenty of Ports Authority employees in six-figure salary club

December 9, 2020

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By RICK BRUNDRETT More than 200 S.C. Ports Authority employees received at least $100,000 in total wages last fiscal year, with agency president and CEO Jim Newsome making $546,236, records show. The total number of workers at the state-created agency who made $50,000 or more in fiscal 2020, which ended June 30, was 608, according […]

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