Tag Archives: Senate

How S.C. lawmakers increase their odds of staying in power

March 25, 2020

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state house

By RICK BRUNDRETT Every 10 years, S.C. lawmakers re-exert their authority to draw legislative and congressional district lines based on updated population counts – a typically convoluted process aimed at protecting incumbents. While the 2020 U.S. Census is underway, state lawmakers quietly are planning to initially spend as much as $2 million on the “reapportionment” […]

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S.C. lawmakers pressed to find money for coronavirus response

March 17, 2020

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By RICK BRUNDRETT When lawmakers return this week to debate how to pay for the state’s emergency coronavirus response, they will have to decide where exactly to get the money. In a letter Thursday to House and Senate leaders, Gov. Henry McMaster requested that lawmakers provide the state Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) […]

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The $4 billion piggy bank hidden from South Carolinians

October 23, 2019

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By RICK BRUNDRETT As state agencies prepare their proposed fiscal 2020-21 budgets, what they likely won’t reveal is the amount of “other” fund surpluses carried over year after year – collectively billions of dollars. As of June 30 – the end of the 2018-19 fiscal year – state agencies and divisions, plus several major state […]

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State agencies sitting on big reserves; lawmakers returning little to taxpayers

September 11, 2019

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By RICK BRUNDRETT If the S.C. House of Representatives decided to forgo its entire $22.7 million budget this fiscal year, it could still pay all of its expected bills – with more than $650,000 left over. That’s because the 124-member chamber carried over nearly $23.4 million in general funds into this fiscal year for its […]

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Public agencies in SC spend more than $1 million total on state lobbyists

September 4, 2019

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  By RICK BRUNDRETT For the first half of this year, North Myrtle Beach agreed to pay a total of $120,000 to a lobbying firm to “work with” the Legislature and Governor’s Office on the city’s behalf, including a push for a law allowing a local sales tax for infrastructure projects, according to a retainer […]

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S.C. lawmakers getting county payments for ‘phantom’ delegation offices

August 7, 2019

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By RICK BRUNDRETT A longstanding state law requires counties to fully fund delegation offices for S.C. lawmakers, while at least 19 legislators are receiving thousands annually from counties in place of those offices, The Nerve found in a review. In at least one case, a legislator has received payments from local municipalities in his home […]

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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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Secrecy surrounds Santee Cooper bid process; $735K spent on study consultant

June 7, 2019

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Santee Cooper

By RICK BRUNDRETT The taxpayer tab for a global consulting firm hired last year to help a legislatively controlled study committee on the possible sale of state-owned utility Santee Cooper has grown to more than $735,000 – and it’s unclear whether that’s the final bill. Meanwhile, the S.C. Department of Administration is being tight-lipped about […]

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Are S.C. officials shirking their oversight of tax dollars awarded to private groups?

May 1, 2019

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By RICK BRUNDRETT In 2006, lawmakers approved spending $700,000 in the fiscal 2007 state budget to help the private Erskine College in Abbeville County establish the “John Drummond Center for Statesmanship” – to be named after the late longtime senator who retired from the Legislature in 2008. A budget proviso authorizing the funding required the […]

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Proviso pork spending: A longstanding legislative tradition

April 27, 2019

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By RICK BRUNDRETT As S.C. lawmakers head into the final weeks of adopting an approximately $30 billion state budget for next fiscal year, their taxpayer-funded goody bag keeps growing bigger. For years, lawmakers have slipped in funding requests – often for their own pet projects – through obscure state budget provisos. The latest budget cycle […]

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