April 11, 2017

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Preschool program pays consultant hefty fees

Bob McAlister cleared more than 350k from SC First Steps By ROBERT MEYEROWITZ South Carolina First Steps to School Readiness, an early-childhood development program funded by the state, paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to a prominent political consultant over the last several years, according to documents obtained from the state Department of Education. Between […]

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April 7, 2017

5 Comments

Some lawmakers want to bottle up competition

Sneak attack on liquor stores pops up in budget By PHILLIP CEASE Yesterday, during the budget debate, the Senate took up an interesting piece of legislation. Amendment 39 would require any retail liquor dealer that wanted more than three stores to pay a fee “equal to the average gross sales” for each of the retailer’s […]

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April 6, 2017

4 Comments

More money for more roads might be bad

Road Work

We’re up against human nature By ROBERT MEYEROWITZ Several recent studies suggest that what seems to be true for South Carolina is true of all the states’ road systems: They’re not falling apart. What’s more, repaving roads and building new ones is not a good way to address at least some roadway deaths. Both conclusions […]

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April 3, 2017

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See no evil

  These ethics bodies just aren’t working – and we have proof By PHILLIP CEASE Last week the House approved the first round of nominees for the state’s new Ethics Commission. On Wednesday, Senator John Courson appeared before a judge to post bond dealing with criminal ethics-violation charges. These two events, which happened within hours of each other, are […]

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March 27, 2017

6 Comments

Wealthier, more connected counties get big road projects

By ROBERT MEYEROWITZ Bank spending in well-worn groove Billions of dollars flow through South Carolina every year, to contractors and others, for roads and other infrastructure projects. The money comes from three pots, essentially: funds sent from the General Assembly through the state Department of Transportation; federal dollars channeled through SCDOT; and money, usually borrowed, […]

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March 24, 2017

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Is there pork on your fork?

By ELISABETH PARKER Sneaky provisos come out, come out Each year the legislature passes provisos within the appropriations bill: one-year laws that sunset with each year’s budget and may not go against a law. They give legislators an easy way to pass pork or ill-advised public policy without much scrutiny. One proviso that has reappeared […]

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March 22, 2017

145 Comments

Fresh ammo arrives for gas-tax advocates

road construction ahead

By ROBERT MEYEROWITZ   Construction advocates bring convenient report Another player emerged yesterday in the debate on a gas-tax increase: TRIP, a Washington, D.C.-based, nonprofit transportation research organization. The group released a report detailing ways in which South Carolina motorists lose $5.4 billion a year, as much as $1,850 per driver, it maintains, due to roads […]

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March 17, 2017

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When rules become Swiss cheese

By PHILLIP CEASE Only some restrooms need apply There’s another bathroom bill in the legislature this year, but this one only deals with stadiums. H. 3792, which passed the House unanimously by a vote of 101-0, carves out an exemption in the building code for bathrooms in middle and high school stadiums. In an Associated Press […]

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March 16, 2017

24 Comments

Are the roads really crumbling?

By ROBERT MEYEROWITZ Some data say SC’s, like the nation’s, aren’t that bad “The state’s crumbling road system” — that phrase and its variants seem to be uttered almost nonstop in South Carolina as the General Assembly mulls the latest gas-tax increase legislation. South Carolina Department of Transportation Secretary Christy Hall has been outspoken, saying […]

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March 12, 2017

67 Comments

Did I say that out loud?

South Carolina Senate

By PHILLIP CEASE Conflicts of interest begin to seem standard Last week, as the state Senate discussed the so-called pension reform bill, Senator Sandy Senn stood up to ask a few very specific questions about a proposed amendment and how it would affect law enforcement officers. In looking into why she had a very narrow […]

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