TOP FIVE: Help for mass violence victims, charter school lobbying, more

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Vice President Mike Pence and Karen Pence visiting a victim of the Sutherland Springs church shooting at the Brooke Army Medical Center, Nov. 8, 2017. Source: Wikipedia.

By Lindsay Street, Statehouse correspondent  |  Our weekly Top Five feature offers big stories or views from the past week or so with policy and legislative implications that you need to read because of how they could impact South Carolina.  If you have stories to suggest to our readers, send to:

  1. Nation’s first mass-violence resource center opens in Charleston, South Carolina Public Radio, Nov. 9, 2017.

Survivors of mass shootings and other violent acts will have access to help and better resources with a new center opening at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. It’s the first center of its kind and it will focus on treatment of survivors of mass violence. An excerpt:

“The center will essentially help victims of mass violence nationwide. (MUSC’s National Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center Director Dean) Kilpatrick says the U.S. Department of Justice Office for Victims of Crime reached out over the summer, looking for assistance with the growing number of mass casualty incidents across the country.  He and his colleagues have been studying traumatic stress and exposure to large-scale natural disasters for decades.  They submitted a proposal and were awarded an $18 million grant last month, just as a gunman opened fire on a crowd of country music fans in Las Vegas.  The deal was finalized this week and once again, while the nation mourned, following a church massacre in Texas.”

2. For-profit charter schools spend big with S.C. lawmakers, The 74 Million, Nov. 7, 2017.

South Carolina has 26,000 charter school students at 39 schools — and the corporations that run the schools have given lavishly to politicians, according to filing disclosures through the S.C. Ethics Commission. An excerpt:

“The corporations that run the schools have spent lavishly to ensure the state remains a friendly place to do business. According to South Carolina campaign finance records examined by The 74, seven for-profit school operators and the association that represents them spent nearly $1 million on lobbying and donations to candidates between 2010 and June 2017, the most recent deadline for filing disclosures.”

  1. House tax reform bill could threaten historic places in South Carolina, The Columbia Star, Nov. 10, 2017.

The bill in the U.S. House of Representatives designed to overhaul the nation’s tax code calls for elimination of a key tax credit that helps with the cost of rehabilitating historic properties, which are all over South Carolina. An excerpt:

“This is a drastic proposal that will have a huge negative impact on the rehabilitation of historic properties in South Carolina and across the country. The Historic Tax Credit (HTC) is one of the most powerful tools employed by both the preservation and development communities. As an acknowledgement of the costs to rehabilitate historic properties, the HTC provides a 20 percent tax credit for eligible costs of rehabilitating historic properties. Many states, including South Carolina, provide additional state tax credits that add to the HTC to make otherwise uneconomic historic redevelopment projects feasible. The credits offset the higher costs involved in rehabilitating historic properties.”


  1. Lawmakers don’t get free pass on bad behavior, The State, Nov. 10, 2017.

Operation Lost Trust in the 1990s marked a turning point for the good, ol’ boy system in South Carolina, according to government watchdog John Crangle. Crangle has kept a list of fallen lawmakers since that time, and he told The State that South Carolina is no longer afraid to prosecute wrongdoing among its politicians. An excerpt:

“State Sen. Paul Campbell, R-Charleston, accused of drunken driving, and state Rep. Jerry Govan, D-Orangeburg, accused of assaulting a fellow lawmaker, join four others facing charges in court. The other four face corruption charges – state Sen. John Courson, R-Richland; state Rep. Rick Quinn, R-Lexington; and former state Reps. Tracy Edge, R-Horry, and Jim Harrison, R-Richland. The six aren’t alone. Since Operation Lost Trust, almost three decades ago, seven other lawmakers have faced criminal charges. Those charges resulted in the conviction or guilty pleas from more than a half-dozen sitting legislators.”

  1. S.C. is one of two states to see fewer black, Democratic-leaning voters, Nov. 1, 2017, Center for American Progress.

South Carolina saw shrinking black voting population and a growing conservative voting population from 2012 to 2016, according to this new voting trends assessment. This bucks the national trend of many places beginning to lean more Democratic in their votes.

“Only two places were Republican-advantaged as a result of demographic changes since 2012: Washington, D.C., and South Carolina. Both have black populations that are shrinking as a share of eligible voters while less Democratic-leaning voters who are white and college-educated, Latino, and Asian or other race are growing. The demographic churn within these states creates a unique scenario: populations that are simultaneously becoming more racially diverse and less Democratic.”


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