March 24, 2017

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Is there pork on your fork?

Sneaky provisos come out, come out By ELISABETH PARKER Each year the legislature passes provisos within the appropriations bill: one-year laws that sunset with each year’s budget and may not go against a law. They give legislators an easy way to pass pork or ill-advised public policy without much scrutiny. One proviso that has reappeared […]

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March 22, 2017

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Fresh ammo arrives for gas-tax advocates

road construction ahead

By ROBERT MEYEROWITZ   Construction advocates bring convenient report Another player emerged yesterday in the debate on a gas-tax increase: TRIP, a Washington, D.C.-based, nonprofit transportation research organization. The group released a report detailing ways in which South Carolina motorists lose $5.4 billion a year, as much as $1,850 per driver, it maintains, due to roads […]

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March 17, 2017

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When rules become Swiss cheese

By PHILLIP CEASE Only some restrooms need apply There’s another bathroom bill in the legislature this year, but this one only deals with stadiums. H. 3792, which passed the House unanimously by a vote of 101-0, carves out an exemption in the building code for bathrooms in middle and high school stadiums. In an Associated Press […]

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March 16, 2017

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Are the roads really crumbling?

By ROBERT MEYEROWITZ Some data say SC’s, like the nation’s, aren’t that bad “The state’s crumbling road system” — that phrase and its variants seem to be uttered almost nonstop in South Carolina as the General Assembly mulls the latest gas-tax increase legislation. South Carolina Department of Transportation Secretary Christy Hall has been outspoken, saying […]

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March 12, 2017

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Did I say that out loud?

South Carolina Senate

By PHILLIP CEASE Conflicts of interest begin to seem standard Last week, as the state Senate discussed the so-called pension reform bill, Senator Sandy Senn stood up to ask a few very specific questions about a proposed amendment and how it would affect law enforcement officers. In looking into why she had a very narrow […]

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March 9, 2017

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Defunct program to be revived?

Here comes the pork. On Wednesday we learned from the policy team at the South Carolina Policy Council (The Nerve’s parent organization) that budget-writers in the House have resuscitated the Competitive Grants program. That program, you may remember, was relentlessly derided by Gov. Mark Sanford as the legislature’s “slush fund.” We don’t endorse that sobriquet, […]

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March 6, 2017

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A fifth of all state money goes to vendors – here are the top 10

By ROBERT MEYEROWITZ $57 million spent on Bank of America cards Vendors made billions of dollars selling goods and services to the state of South Carolina last year, according to data compiled by the comptroller general’s office — about $5 billion in all. That’s roughly one-fifth of all state appropriations. Leading the list: Blue Cross […]

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March 3, 2017

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They play by house rules

By PHILLIP CEASE On the budget, legislators bid defiance to mere laws The South Carolina House passed a gas-tax increase this week and a bill aimed at fixing the pension system, while the Senate approved a similar pension bill. Both of these issues, the gas tax and pension reform, received a lot of press — […]

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March 1, 2017

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DOT funds flow to roads alliance

By ROBERT MEYEROWITZ Some seeking tax hike get hundreds of millions Since 2014, at least eight members of a nonprofit pushing for an increase in the state’s gas tax collectively have received more than $451 million from the state Department of Transportation, records show. The money was paid to contractors who are members of the […]

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February 24, 2017

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When common sense goes dark

By PHILLIP CEASE Lawmakers explain how to not see sun This week the legislature passed a joint resolution that allows school districts to start the next school year Thursday, August 17. Without this resolution, schools could not start before the third Monday of that month, August 21 — the day of a solar eclipse. The […]

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