Tag Archives: Harvey Peeler

Senators keep tight control over county magistrates

April 14, 2021

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  By RICK BRUNDRETT If there’s one power that S.C. senators likely will never relinquish – at least willingly – it’s their control over the selection of the state’s more than 300 county magistrates. Magistrates, who handle traffic tickets and other relatively minor criminal and civil cases, know how much authority senators can exercise even […]

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Pothole palooza: SCDOT claims it patches hundreds of thousands of holes

April 2, 2021

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By RICK BRUNDRETT In its latest annual report, the S.C. Department of Transportation claimed it patched about 679,300 potholes statewide during fiscal year 2020. Based on those numbers, an average of 14,767 potholes were filled from July 1, 2019, through June 30, 2020, in each of the state’s 46 counties, though the annual report, provided […]

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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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south carolina judicial department, judiciary

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

February 21, 2020

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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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Six-figure House, Senate staff club growing bigger

December 17, 2019

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By RICK BRUNDRETT Since last year, the permanent workforce in the S.C. House and Senate has grown – as well as the number of legislative staffers in the six-figure salary club, records released to The Nerve show. The 124-member House employed 95 staffers as of Dec. 2, up from 91 as of mid-October 2018, while […]

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Ties to lawmakers present in judicial screening hearings; records kept secret

November 15, 2019

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south carolina judicial department, judiciary

By RICK BRUNDRETT As a sitting S.C. Supreme Court justice, George James is first up Monday in a series of screening hearings by a legislatively controlled panel that will determine whether he and other lower-court judges will be nominated for election in the General Assembly. James, who is seeking his first full 10-year term on […]

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Did lawmakers violate open-meetings law in DOT Commission appointment?

July 10, 2019

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SCDOT

By RICK BRUNDRETT An Upstate legislative delegation might have skirted the state’s open-meetings law last year by privately recommending to the governor candidates for a Department of Transportation Commission seat, The Nerve found in a review. In interviews this week, Greenville County GOP Reps. Mike Burns and Garry Smith said the Greenville and Spartanburg county […]

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How one S.C. senator can control the appointment of county magistrates

July 2, 2019

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SC Senate Chamber

By RICK BRUNDRETT The S.C. Senate’s quiet move at the end of last week’s special legislative session to confirm Mike Pitts as a Laurens County magistrate surprised even some senators when the former state House member’s name was quickly read across the desk. That’s likely because, in part, the appointment of the more than 300 […]

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