Tag Archives: Luke Rankin

Attorney with ties to SC senator wins judgeship

May 7, 2021

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south carolina judicial department, judiciary

By RICK BRUNDRETT An attorney who works in a state senator’s law firm is Spartanburg County’s new master-in-equity judge – less than three months after the county’s legislative delegation, of which the senator is a member, quietly nominated her. The Senate and House this week confirmed Shannon Phillips, an attorney in Sen. Scott Talley’s law […]

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Lawmakers seek to regain control over who heads county VA offices

March 12, 2021

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By RICK BRUNDRETT Two years ago, lawmakers created the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, a stand-alone state agency aimed at helping to provide services to the thousands of veterans in South Carolina. With the creation of the new agency, county legislative delegations lost their sole power to fire the county veterans’ affairs officer (CVAO) in their […]

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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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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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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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State court system keeps staff salaries secret from the public

November 20, 2020

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By RICK BRUNDRETT The S.C. Judicial Department – the third branch of state government – is refusing to publicly reveal salaries of its own employees, contending it isn’t legally required to do so. The Nerve on Oct. 18 submitted a request to the department under the state Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) asking for the […]

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S.C. lawmakers continue tight grip on PSC elections

September 23, 2020

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Update: The Legislature on Sept. 23, 2020, elected four newcomers to the S.C. Public Service Commission: Carolyn “Carolee” Williams, District 1; Stephen “Mike” Caston, District 3; Headen Thomas, District 5; and Delton Powers, District 7. By RICK BRUNDRETT For many South Carolinians, the size of their utility bills ultimately rests with state lawmakers. Not only […]

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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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PURC legislative members took junkets to utility industry-sponsored events

February 19, 2020

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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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State law violated: PURC fails to submit annual reviews of PSC members

January 24, 2020

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By RICK BRUNDRETT A legislatively controlled committee violated state law in recent years by not giving the General Assembly annual performance reviews of individual S.C. Public Service Commission members, who set utility rates for residents and businesses statewide, a review by The Nerve found. Timing could be everything. Before the V.C. Summer nuclear project collapsed […]

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