Tag Archives: Murrell Smith

House targets budget law for repeal; other old laws remain untouched

March 5, 2021

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By RICK BRUNDRETT In South Carolina, it’s still illegal to challenge someone to a duel with a sword, pistol or other deadly weapon. Other laws on the books that date to the last century or earlier ban such things as, for example: Robbing a train after stopping it; Swindling in card or dice games; Committing […]

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Legislators quietly moving to repeal longtime budget law they ignore

February 26, 2021

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By RICK BRUNDRETT The S.C. Legislature these days is proving that the cover-up is as bad as the crime. Not only have legislators routinely ignored a longstanding state law requiring public hearings on the entire state budget as initially proposed by the governor, they now are moving to get rid of the law itself – […]

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Golden parachute for state attorney general?

February 19, 2021

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By RICK BRUNDRETT Longtime state attorney general Alan Wilson could receive bigger retirement paychecks under legislation sponsored by two House leaders who also are lawyers. The bill, sponsored by Reps. Murrell Smith, R-Sumter, who is the House Ways and Means Committee chairman, and Chris Murphy, R-Dorchester, who is the House Judiciary Committee chairman, would allow […]

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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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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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$20M in COVID-19 funds earmarked for tourism marketing

October 9, 2020

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By RICK BRUNDRETT Gov. Henry McMaster plans to spend $20 million in state surplus money in response to the coronavirus outbreak in South Carolina, but it’s not for more testing, treatment or protective gear such as face masks. Instead, those funds will be spent on tourism marketing – most of it going to five tourism […]

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Lawmakers routinely tap campaign funds for ‘other’ expenses

August 27, 2020

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By RICK BRUNDRETT Politicians typically spend campaign funds on things like signs, billboards, TV, radio or internet advertising. But S.C. lawmakers often use their campaign money for other expenses, including out-of-state trips, donations to their favorite charities, membership dues, or gifts to their staffs and constituents. And it’s all legal – at least according to […]

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Lawmakers continue to push their pet projects – at taxpayer expense

March 10, 2020

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By RICK BRUNDRETT In debating next fiscal year’s state budget, House members could decide this week whether to funnel $23 million through the state’s tourism department and nearly $2 million through the S.C. State Museum for projects or programs that neither agency formally requested, records show. Most of those funding requests are included on an […]

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Governor, House want SC taxpayers to eat plenty of pork in fiscal ’21

March 6, 2020

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By RICK BRUNDRETT Buried in the latest $32.3 billion state spending plan for next fiscal year is a $19 million expenditure for a proposed downtown Greenville convention center, and another $7.5 million to renovate the Sumter Opera House. The total $26.5 million – which is larger than the overall proposed fiscal 2020-21 budgets of at […]

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Lawmakers ignoring $500M piggy bank to fix SC’s bad roads

February 28, 2020

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By RICK BRUNDRETT While House budget writers have designated an extra $100 million next fiscal year for paving rural roads statewide, the S.C. Department of Transportation is sitting on a separate surplus of more than a half-billion dollars, newly released DOT records show. As of Jan. 31, a special fund created with the state gas-tax-hike […]

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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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