Tag Archives: Senate

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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state house

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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Legislators continue to look out for their own bottom lines

March 27, 2019

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SC budget process

By RICK BRUNDRETT Another year, another round of state lawmakers supporting legislation that could fatten their wallets. Just this month alone, at least two House bills and a Senate bill were introduced, while separate legislation passed the Senate, that pose potential conflicts of interest for lawmakers who authored or co-sponsored the proposals. State ethics law […]

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House, Senate chambers sitting on huge reserves while seeking more tax dollars

March 22, 2019

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By RICK BRUNDRETT The S.C. House and Senate know how to take care of each other – with taxpayer money. As The Nerve reported in September, the 124-member House carried over $25 million in general funds in its chamber budget for this fiscal year, which started July 1 – nearly $2.9 million more than its […]

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Ex-lawmakers continue to cash in on their legislative time

March 2, 2019

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By RICK BRUNDRETT Over the years, lawmakers have legally made it easy for themselves to continue making money after leaving office through their connections in the Legislature and elsewhere in state and local government. Under state law, for example, legislators can become lobbyists just a year after leaving office. In recent years, at least four […]

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