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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February 5, 2020

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Concerns about CTC meeting pay acknowledged by bill co-sponsors

By RICK BRUNDRETT Allowing Union County Transportation Committee members to make up to $750 a year – paid out of state gas-tax money – is too costly for taxpayers, says a co-sponsor of a bill that would pay those members for attending regular meetings. “It is high,” said Rep. Bill Clyburn, D-Aiken, when contacted Monday […]

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January 31, 2020

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First 2.5 years of gas-tax-hike law: Revenues far outpace completed projects

By RICK BRUNDRETT No paving projects were completed between the end of November and December with gas-tax-hike funds in 37 of South Carolina’s 46 counties, though the state had nearly a half-billion dollars in available cash for those projects, records show. In the first two-and-a-half years of the gas-tax-hike law, a total of $1.04 billion […]

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