February 27, 2020

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Throwback Thursday: Keeping SC lawmakers far, far away from the US Constitution

This week, state House and Senate committees considered legislation calling for an Article V convention to amend the U.S. Constitution. The House Judiciary Committee recalled H.3125 from subcommittee, and a Senate Judiciary subcommittee heard testimony on S.125 before carrying it over to its next meeting. Both of these bills call for a federal constitutional convention […]

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February 26, 2020

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Santee Cooper’s $100K-plus club doubles in less than 10 years

By RICK BRUNDRETT As lawmakers this week consider sale and management proposals involving Santee Cooper, one issue that likely won’t get much attention is the growth in recent years of well-paid workers at the state-owned utility. Of Santee Cooper’s approximately 1,650 full-time employees, 312, or 18.9% of the total, receive a base annual salary of […]

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February 21, 2020

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Lawyer-lawmakers largely control who becomes a judge in SC. Here’s their latest power play

By RICK BRUNDRETT Ten S.C. House members who are lawyers are pushing legislation to create two circuit and two family court seats – and several of the bill’s co-sponsors would play large roles in who gets nominated to those positions. The lead sponsor of the bill is House speaker Jay Lucas, R-Darlington, an attorney who […]

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February 20, 2020

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Throwback Thursday: How NOT to sell Santee Cooper

Santee Cooper

Lawmakers have been holding committee meetings all week on the S.C. Department of Administration’s report detailing three different proposals for the future of state-owned utility Santee Cooper: a purchase offer from NextEra, a management offer from Dominion, and an internal reform proposal from Santee Cooper itself. There are serious problems with all three proposals – […]

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February 19, 2020

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PURC legislative members took junkets to utility industry-sponsored events

By RICK BRUNDRETT From 2007 through 2016, five longtime legislative members of a panel that nominates candidates to the S.C. Public Service Commission each attended at least two out-of-state events sponsored by utility-industry trade groups, records show. The total taxpayer cost of the trips by the five lawmakers who sit on the six-legislator, 10-member State […]

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February 14, 2020

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Public agencies in SC spending thousands to influence lawmakers, other state officials

By RICK BRUNDRETT Last year, local municipalities, fire and other special purpose districts, public colleges and at least three state agencies collectively spent more than $1.4 million on lobbying the S.C. legislative and executive branches, State Ethics Commission records show. The total grows to at least $2.9 million if  other state-created or state-owned agencies, organizations […]

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February 13, 2020

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Throwback Thursday: Taxpayers’ cost for secret Santee Cooper bids

santee cooper

This week, the S.C. Department of Administration released an official report detailing three different options for the future of state-owned utility Santee Cooper. This report concludes a months-long, closed-door process of collecting and analyzing purchase and management offers, as well as Santee Cooper’s own “reform” proposal. The collection and evaluation of offers were not carried […]

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February 11, 2020

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SCDOT director among dozens in agency’s growing six-figure club

SCDOT

By RICK BRUNDRETT The number of S.C. Department of Transportation employees making at least $100,000 has almost doubled since Christy Hall became the agency head, though the department’s total workforce size has changed little over the period, a review by The Nerve found. Last week, the legislatively controlled state Agency Head Salary Commission hiked Hall’s […]

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February 7, 2020

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Jet-setting PSC members attended events with ties to regulated companies

By RICK BRUNDRETT From 2014 through 2018, four sitting S.C. Public Service Commission members collectively accepted more than $90,000 in trips and meals funded in part by utility industry trade groups, several of which have ties to companies regulated by the PSC, a review by The Nerve found. And two of the commissioners who are […]

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February 6, 2020

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Throwback Thursday: Why judicial races are usually uncontested

sc supreme court

Yesterday, 17 judges were elected by the Legislature, all of whom were unopposed – at least by the time lawmakers actually held the elections. All but one of these judges were elected by voice votes over audible-but-unrecognized objections, despite the state constitution’s requirement that voice votes can only be used in elections by the Legislature […]

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