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ISSUE 10.07
Feb. 18, 2011

RECENT ISSUES:
12/04 | 11/27 | 11/20 | 11/13

Index

News :
Unkindest cuts
Legislative Agenda :
Charter schools, restructuring, illegal immigration ahead
Radar Screen :
It was a dark and stormy legislature
Palmetto Politics :
A Crazy Ivan?
Commentary :
The past thrives in South Carolina
My Turn :
Egypt is a warning for U.S. democracy
Feedback :
Send us a letter
Scorecard :
From Mississippi to Sanford, Bright
Stegelin :
Try this on for size
Megaphone :
More than one story?
Tally Sheet :
New bills from this week
Encyclopedia :
Beth Elohim: world's oldest surviving reform synagogue

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NUMBER OF THE WEEK

462,000

That’s the number of children under the age of 18 in South Carolina who live in some sort of poverty, according to a new state joint committee report. Read it and weep. More.

MEGAPHONE

More than one story?

“There is no way for anybody to say, in my mind, that an agency director can project a 9 percent growth rate and then an employee in the governor's office say, 'No we're not going to use that.' That is not all right.”

-- State Sen. Vincent Sheheen (D-Kershaw), firing back at Sen. Tom Davis (R-Beaufort), who had been defending his close friend, former Gov. Mark Sanford, against criticisms that his administration may have told the state Department of Health and Human Services to mislead the legislature as to the actual financial picture at the cabinet agency. The agency is currently saddled with a $225 million deficit. More.

TALLY SHEET

New bills from this week

Safe schools. S. 566 (Leventis) calls for amendments to the Safe School Climate Act regarding harassment reporting, with several provisions.

Long-term care. S. 567 (Alexander) calls for creation of a Long-term Care Accessibility task force.

Juvenile parole. S. 573 (Fair) calls for reshaping of the juvenile parole board.

Scholarships. S. 575 (Massey) would allow SC students who qualify for Life, Hope or Palmetto Fellows scholarships to get the money associated with the scholarship to use in out-of-state institutions.

Forensics. S. 580 (Setzler) would exempt computer forensics experts from private security and investigative agency regulation.

Mopeds. S. 583 (Knotts) would regulate mopeds, with many provisions.

Stroke prevention. S. 588 (Jackson) would establish a statewide system of stroke care, with several provisions.

Prosecution. H. 3666 (H.B. Brown) would transfer the Prosecution Coordination Commission to the Office of Attorney General as a division, with several provisions.

Civil suit oversight. H. 3669 (Harrison) would require solicitors to get approval from the attorney general for any civil actions, with several provisions.

Community land trusts. H. 3676 (J.E. Smith) calls for the SC Community Land Trust Act to allow community land trusts to hold land and lease it to promote affordability.

Bear baying. H. 3678 (J.E. Smith) would delete the state exemption of bear baying, with several provisions.

Modern fraud. H. 3686 (Young) calls for creation of the offense of “caller identification and social media fraud,” with several provisions and definitions.

Marine mammal protection. H. 3687 (J.E. Smith) would make it unlawful to display a dolphin or whale in the state, with several provisions.

Restructuring. H. 3709 (Cooper) calls for the SC Museum Commission, SC State Museum and SC Arts Commission to be transferred to the state Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism, with several provisions.

To find out more on any of the bills in the General Assembly, go here.

ENCYCLOPEDIA

Beth Elohim: world's oldest surviving reform synagogue

Beth Elohim, Holy Congregation House of God, was founded in Charleston in 1749 as an Orthodox Sephardic congregation by Jewish settlers, mainly from England. The Reverend Moses Cohen was its religious leader, Joseph Tobias its first parnass (president), and Isaac DaCosta its hazan (reader). They worshiped in houses converted into synagogues until 1794, when they dedicated a handsome cupolaed synagogue on Hasell Street. At that time Beth Elohim, with about four hundred members, was the largest Jewish congregation in the United States.


Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim

In 1764 the congregation bought the DaCosta family burial ground on Coming Street as a congregational cemetery, now the oldest surviving Jewish cemetery in the South. Members of the congregation organized the Hebrew Benevolent Society (1784) and the Hebrew Orphan Society (1801), both still in existence.

In 1824 forty-eight members of Beth Elohim, led by Isaac Harby and Abraham Moise, whose requests for changes in worship services had been rejected by the adjunta (board of trustees), formed the Reform Society of Israelites. This was the first attempt to reform Judaism in the United States; it functioned for nine years.

In 1838 a citywide fire destroyed the 1794 synagogue. Beth Elohim then built and dedicated a Greek-revival-style building in 1841 as its new synagogue, now the second-oldest Jewish synagogue in the United States and the longest in continuous service. With the approval of the Reverend Gustavus Poznanski, the congregation decided to install an organ to provide music during services - a first in American Jewish history - and to reform ritual practices and observances, thus becoming the first Reform congregation in the United States.

This change caused the withdrawal of the Orthodox members, who formed a new congregation, Kahal Kadosh Shearit Israel (Holy Congregation Remnant of Israel). The two congregations shared the Hasell Street synagogue until a civil case found in favor of the reformers. Shearit Israel then built its own synagogue on Wentworth Street (no longer extant).

Impoverished by the Civil War, and with two damaged buildings, the two congregations amalgamated into Beth Elohim. They compromised their religious differences. But as the years passed, the congregation moved solidly into the ranks of Reform Judaism and became a charter member of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations in 1876.

Originally, the 1841 synagogue's interior was arranged according to Sephardic custom, with women occupying the balconies. In 1879 pew seating was introduced, allowing families to sit together in worship, and the balconies were removed after the earthquake of 1886. Women have been voting members of the congregation since 1920 and full participants in all congregational matters. The synagogue, now the oldest surviving Reform synagogue in the world, became a National Historic Landmark in 1980.

-- Excerpted from the entry by Solomon Breibart. To read more about this or 2,000 other entries about South Carolina, check out The South Carolina Encyclopedia by USC Press. (Information used by permission.)

PALMETTO PRIORITIES

Palmetto Priorities Statehouse Report encourages state leaders to develop and implement Palmetto Priorities involving several issues to make the state better a better place. Click the link to learn more about our suggestions for bipartisan policy objectives.

Here is a summary of our Palmetto Priorities:

CORRECTIONS: Reduce the prison population by 25 percent by 2020.

EDUCATION: Cut the state's dropout rate in half by 2020.

ELECTIONS: Increase voter registration to 75 percent by 2015.

ENVIRONMENT: Adopt a state energy policy that requires energy producers to generate 20 percent of energy from renewable sources by 2020.

ETHICS: Overhaul state ethics laws.

HEALTH CARE: Ensure affordable and accessible health care.

JOBS: Develop a Cabinet-level post to add, retain 10,000 small business jobs per year.

POLITICS: Have a vigorous two- or multi-party political system of governance.

ROADS: Strengthen all bridges and upgrade state roads by 2015.

SAFETY: Cut the state's violent crime rate by one-third by 2016.

TAX REFORM: Remove outdated special interest sales tax exemptions as part of an overall reform of the state's tax structure to be completed by 2014.

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News

Unkindest cuts

Will the poor pay for South Carolina’s recession?

“I have observed the misery of my people … I have heard their cry ... Indeed, I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them from … that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey.” -- Excerpts from Exodus 3: 7-8
FEB. 18, 2011 – The face of poverty has changed in America since the time when Okies fled the dustbowl and the shoeless children of sharecroppers dotted South Carolina’s dirt roads.

The face of poverty has changed since the 1960s when President Lyndon Johnson defined the poor and U.S. Sen. Fritz Hollings (D-S.C.) described a nagging battle by many against hunger.

No longer can angry fingers point at “welfare queens” sitting on a hive of children, producing federal grant dollars, as they tool around in gaudy Cadillacs. President Bill Clinton did away with “welfare” as the nation had come to know it.

But, some in and around the Statehouse argue that the face of poverty has become too wide, too inclusive, with too many faces added to the picture, potentially draining away money that could, perhaps, be better used to support the truly poor.

Have state social welfare efforts become too expansive, too inclusive and thereby unsustainable? Or has the state found itself faced once again with its age-old question: how do we protect and serve the poorest and most vulnerable residents of our state, often children, without bankrupting the rest?

Doing the numbers

A study released from a joint legislative study committee just this week pointed out more than 460,000 residents under the age of 18 in South Carolina live in some sort of definable level of poverty. See the study.

That same report claimed that 360,000 kids receive some sort of subsidized school lunch, with 100,000 in special education programs whose enrollment often mirrors poverty rates.

According to the S.C. Indicators Project, run by USC-Columbia, the state ranked 13th in the country in percentage of residents not covered by any kind of health care insurance in 2007.

According to the University of Georgia’s Initiative on Poverty, 14.1 percent of South Carolinians lived in poverty, compared to 12.4 percent nationally. Those living at 50 percent of the poverty rate in South Carolina were 6.5 percent, compared to 5.6 percent nationally.

According to statistics provided by the state Department of Social Services, there were 51,000 Family Independence program recipients in January. That’s the program, one of the last vestiges of old-school “welfare,” that sends out monthly support checks to struggling families.  Those checks, however, are about 20 percent less than last year due to state budget cuts.  According to the department, the average check has been cut from $270 per month for a parent with two children to $216 per month.

Of that DSS program’s 51,000 recipients, roughly 67 percent were black, and 33 percent were white. The racial divide closes somewhat in SNAP, or state food stamps.  Some 55.6 percent of SNAP recipients in January were black, compared to 43.5 percent of white recipients.  The total program supports 853,000 recipients.  This year, figures show the percentage of blacks on food stamps dropped slightly, while the figure for whites rose slightly.

And according to the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce stats, the number of new white unemployment claimants in January was actually well over twice that of new black claimants.

In short, there are a lot of people hurting in South Carolina and some of the old racial divides still exist.

But now, the concern is whether the poorest in the state will get hit with a bigger proportional blow because of major state budget cuts looming due to the recession and still lagging tax revenue collections and the ending of federal stimulus funding.

Comforting the afflicted

House Minority Leader Harry Ott (D-St. Matthews) is worried the state could be doing more to ease the suffering.

“As more and more people lose their job, because we, as a state, have done a poor job creating employment opportunities in this state, the face of poverty does change,” said Ott. “Because those who used to be gainfully employed didn’t need assistance from the government, now find themselves the unemployed. I’m not surprised the face is changing.”

Sue Berkowitz, an advocate for the poor as the director of the S.C. Appleseed Legal Justice Center, has seen the changing face with her own eyes.

“I have seen at a food bank I volunteer at people who used to donate and who used to volunteer alongside me, are now showing up and taking donations,” said Berkowitz. “When 50 percent of people live in poverty, because they can’t get jobs paying living wages, you’re going to see more people coming out to the (free) food pantries.”
    
Is there a solution?

Budget cuts are coming for every agency.  This much everybody knows. But will the cuts to social service programs cost the poor more?

One Statehouse budget expert, speaking on background, observed that expansion in the rolls of people on assistance might blamed on politicians, who can more easily “sell” public assistance when it helps middle-class families as well as poor families.  But now when cuts happen, the worry is that the cuts will hurt more people on the bottom where economies of scale can have a regressive boom.

Berkowitz worries that will be so, too. A cut, she argued, to a middle class family receiving support for the autism-affected child, won’t be as unkind as a cut to a poor family on the same dole, because the latter won’t be able to absorb the costs of private care or therapy.

Ott worries the added cost of cuts to child care programs could force some families desperately clinging to newfound jobs to give up those jobs and stay at home.

Senate President Pro Tempore Glenn McConnell also believes the current social program situation is “unsustainable,” but for different reasons. He said a means test, or a sliding scale based on a family or individual’s ability to pay, might be in the offing for state social services.

Ott disagreed, saying that any cuts to any needy family, regardless of wealth, were anathema to his vision of government.

Sen. Thomas Alexander (R-Walhalla), chair of the General Committee, which DSS reports to, said any means test or related maneuver might need to be vetted with the federal government, as so much of what the state spends in this area is simply pass-through money from Washington, D.C.

But what Ott, Berkowitz and McConnell did agree on is that the $225 million deficit currently bedeviling the Department of Health and Human Services must be dealt with.

Ott and McConnell don’t want the precedent of a cabinet agency going into the red because of the across-the-board problems in creates in the state’s budget. Berkowitz feared it would lead to more cuts to the state’s residents most vulnerable and most dependent on government assistance.

Crystal ball: While federal stimulus dollars have meant that South Carolina did not have to feel the double-lash of private sector job contraction at the same time as public sector jobs and program contraction, it may mean the poor will feel both now. Jobs are scarce and state programs are drying up. If ever there were times to have been born rich in South Carolina, this is certainly one of them.

Legislative Agenda

Charter schools, restructuring, illegal immigration ahead

With the budget moving through the full Ways and Means Committee next week, floor debate in the House will center on a bill to expand the state’s charter schools program. In Judiciary, restructuring bills will be reported out soon that could create a new Department of Administration, have the governor and lt. governor elected on the same ballot, and make the office of the Superintendent of Education a gubernatorial appointee. Sitting in the wings is an a bill that could foster more entrepreneurship, and public K-12 education funding reform bill sponsored by Ways and Means chairman Dan Cooper (R-Piedmont).

In the Senate with voter I.D. handled, look for illegal immigration bill to be debated on the floor next week, with tort reform in the wings.

In the House

  • Ways and Means schedule. The budget agenda looks like this: Next week, the budget will be debated in full committee, beginning on Tuesday. After that, it will be sent to the printers, which will take a week. Once back the week of March 7, rules require it to sit on legislators’ desks for a full week before being debated to give time to representatives to study the massive document.  During the week of March 14, House members will debate the budget on the floor.

  • Ways and Means. The full committee will meet Tuesday at 10 a.m. in 521 Blatt and continue through the week debating the budget.  More.

  • LCI. The full committee will meet Tuesday at 2:30 p.m. in 403 Blatt to discuss subcommittee bill recommendations.  More.

  • Judiciary. The full committee will meet at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday in 516 Blatt to discuss bills that would require secret ballot elections in union organizations, among others.  More.

  • Judiciary. A constitutional laws subcommittee will meet Thursday at 9 a.m. in a location to be announced later to discuss a host of bills, including one that would combine the state’s prisons systems with its probation and parole departments.  More.

In the Senate
  • Education. The full committee will meet at 10 a.m. in 207 Gressette to discuss bills that would provide free tuition for certain veterans’ children, and other measures, including one to increase governmental transparency. More.

  • Agriculture. The full committee will meet Wednesday at 10 a.m. in 209 Gressette to discuss DHEC regulations and standards and to discuss bills regarding the disposal of radioactive waste and opposing federal cap-and-trade renewable energy legislation. More.

  • Banking and Insurance. The full committee will meet on Wednesday at 11 a.m. in 308 Gressette  a host of state bills. More.

  • Judiciary. A subcommittee will meet at 9 .m. Thursday in 105 Gressette to discuss bills that would limit state spending, give the legislature oversight over the executive department, and prevent future deficits. More

  • Education. A K-12 subcommittee will meet to discuss a bill that would revise the state’s Education Finance Act. More.
Radar Screen

It was a dark and stormy legislature

The general mood of the General Assembly continues to be fairly dark, with the limited budget supplying fodder for disappointment and worried legislators. Unable to deliver on past projects, pork to some, legislators will likely muddle through the budget process as more and more cuts are executed. But a flashpoint is bound to arise, one in which the collective angst of the legislature will be vented. Woe be to the target of the building dissatisfaction. Smart money: the deficit at the Department of Health and Human Services will be the one.

Palmetto Politics

A Crazy Ivan?

Gov. Nikki Haley continues to baffle those trying to pigeonhole her. One week, she presents as a veteran administrator, swooping in to smooth deficits at the Department of Social Services, or save the state’s Medicaid program by pushing to allow it to continue to carry a $100 million deficit versus closing up shop.

And then, as she did this week, Haley presents as the brash outsider pundits worried she’d become once in the top office. At a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting this week, Haley appeared in person to fight for more transparency in Senate voting, a cornerstone of her campaign platform. But in doing so, she riled the members of the powerful committee by her insistent pleas to pass legislation dove-tailed to her exact preferences.

Senators, including Orangeburg Democrat Brad Hutto and Senate President Pro Tempore Glenn McConnell (R-Charleston), challenged Haley’s populist support in the face of legal precedents. That Haley and some of the most influential legislators were bickering is fodder for some concern – especially since she promised to improve relations between the Statehouse and the Governor’s Mansion chilled by her predecessor.

But a sly question arises. Why did she appear in the first place? Most governors would have sent a representative, or had an allied senator on the committee put forward her position, not stand and take the political crossfire. Haley didn’t, and by appearing personally, she may have increased concerns of four more combative years.

In the movie “The Hunt for Red October,” the Russian submarine commander would alter course radically to make sure no one was stalking him – a maneuver dubbed a “Crazy Ivan.”  Was Haley going rogue, or was she cagily pulling a Crazy Ivan? Time will tell.

Sickly feeling

Perhaps it would behoove former Gov. Mark Sanford to stay in South America for a while with his girlfriend -- at least until the brouhaha over the state Department of Health and Human Services’ $225 million deficit subsides.

Senators held a hearing this week, looking into how the cabinet agency’s fiscal situation had become so strained. The agency had been hit with skyrocketing demands for services in the wake of a deepening recession.

Senators want to know whether Sanford’s administration made it worse by demanding that the agency, which oversees the state Medicaid program, purposefully under-report its growth rate? The agency had told an advisory committee that it was experiencing as much as a 13 percent increase in growth, but only asked for 4 percent growth in its budget to the legislature, which in turn, didn’t even fund that full amount last fiscal year.

This week, the investigatory committee listened to the agency’s former head, Emma Forkner, and the picture she painted enraged some on the investigative panel. One stalwart Sanfordite, Sen. Tom Davis (R-Beaufort), defended his longtime ally. But don’t look for Davis’ words to calm the panel, or for that matter, the General Assembly, if solid evidence erupts to show Sanford’s people did just that. One ranking Senate Republican said a Legislative Audit Council investigation of the agency is becoming more and more sure. The LAC’s work in the recent past has uncovered big problems at major agencies, like Transportation and the state’s unemployment office.

Commentary

The past thrives in South Carolina

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher

FEB. 18, 2011 – Below are two sentences. Please pick a choice that accurately completes the quotes by an elected official.

Quote One: “The propagandists and the agitators applied every pressure of which they were capable to bring about ________ doctrine.”

a.    Forced adoption of the Obamacare

b.  A reversal of the separate-but-equal

c.    Implementation of the Nullification

Quote Two: “The people and the states must find ways and means of preserving _________. Each attempt to break down _______ must be fought with every legal weapon at our disposal.”

a.      Our choices for health policy we want; our right to opt out of forced health care

b.      Segregation in the schools; segregation

c.       Medicaid; Medicaid payments

In both cases, Choice B is the correct answer. Both quotes were made March 12, 1956, by U.S. Sen. Strom Thurmond when praising the so-called Southern Manifesto that sought to prevent school integration.

Interestingly, however, you could have chosen Choice A in either case, too. Why? Because the language in both A choices is an extension of the stale race-based rhetoric of 55 years ago that is still being used by South Carolina leaders today. Instead of trying to kill integration, they want to kill or thwart federal health care reform, despite the fact that it would curb costs and expand access to the health care system to millions of Americans.

In essence, South Carolinians have travelled 200 years in time, but are still spitting, steaming and bellyaching about the role of the federal government with states.
Legislation proposed this month by U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, the South Carolina Republican who took Thurmond’s place in the Senate, would let states opt out of requirements at the heart of the still-controversial health care reform law.   Graham’s bill calls for states to be able to opt out of coverage mandates, minimum coverage requirements and expansion of state Medicaid programs.

Evoking language that could have come 150 years ago, Gov. Nikki Haley said Graham’s proposal was “a surefire way of opting out in the way that we want to and not the way the president wants us to.”

The way today’s GOP leaders in South Carolina are talking about health care is straight out of the “induce fear” playbook that naysayers have been using here for years. In the 1820s, John C. Calhoun developed the theory of nullification to promote the rights of states to nullify federal laws. Southerners used charged language based in nullification in the days leading to the Civil War. And they invoked the same kind of divisive rhetoric for decades to prop up segregation and Jim Crow laws.

In essence, South Carolinians have travelled 200 years in time, but are still spitting, steaming and bellyaching about the role of the federal government with states.

“We [in South Carolina] have this resentment of the federal government but we suck at the teat of the federal government all of the time,” observed Frank Knapp, president of the S.C. Small Business Chamber of Commerce. What’s interesting, he added, is that many in the GOP seem to like federal money “when they like the issue and its evil money when they, for partisan reasons, don't like it.”

Columbia health economist Lynn Bailey said South Carolinians who are trying to build a better future for the state often encounter leaders saddled by the past.

“I’m always astounded in South Carolina with how we are willing to balance the budget or balance our political accounts on the backs of the poor – disabled children, frail elderly and poor sick people – because we’ve got so many of them. And they will vote against their own self-interest. 

“We are people who are trapped in a time perspective in the past and a negative perspective on that past.”

If you don’t think we’re sometimes enslaved by the past, take a look at a bill introduced last week by Sen. Lee Bright, R-Spartanburg, that smacks of secession. He’s calling for the state to have the ability to start minting its own currency. 

Woo-hoo. More fodder for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart: The nation of South Carolina. [Which would have to do without billions of federal dollars for roads, bridges, prisons, health care, education and more. How bright would that be?]

Andy Brack, publisher of Statehouse Report, can be reached at: brack@statehousereport.com.

My Turn

Egypt is a warning for U.S. democracy

By Frank Knapp, Jr.
S.C. Small Business Chamber of Commerce

FEB. 18, 2011 -- Make no mistake about it – the peaceful Egyptian revolution was brought about by the workers and small business owners of that country protesting together. They want economic opportunity for all and a democratically elected government that puts its peoples’ interests above the interests of the financially powerful, well-connected oligarchy.

There is a lesson here for our country.

Our government structures are becoming ever more influenced by those with extremely deep pockets at the expense of our citizens and small businesses. And while we have a tradition of a democratic election process to address needed changes in our government, that process is becoming less and less democratic.

This important issue was the topic of many meetings on my recent trip to Washington – reducing the extraordinary influence of big corporate money in our government. Last year’s Citizens United Supreme Court ruling that corporations are “people” that have a Constitutional right to spend unlimited amounts of money to influence elections has moved our country rapidly down the road to a far less democratic nation – a road we were already on.

Our government “of the people, by the people and for the people” is in jeopardy of becoming “of the corporations, by the corporations and for the corporations.” Real “people” will only be pawns to be manipulated when corporate money totally dominates our elections. Already we’ve seen how corporate lobbyists dominate the legislative process.

Small businesses are and should be very concerned. We know that big U.S. and multi-national corporations are only interested in profits regardless of the consequence to small businesses.

The fact is that what is good for big business is often not good for small business.
That is exactly the reason The South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce was founded over 10 years ago. Small businesses must fight for ourselves and not simply rely on paternalistic big businesses to allow scraps to fall off the bountiful table they have bought for themselves.

Right now in Washington big corporate campaign donors are pushing:
  • for even more tax incentives for offshoring production and jobs – lost opportunities for small businesses to supply goods and services to domestic manufacturing and fewer workers buying from our local small businesses.

  • to eliminate regulations aimed at protecting us from another financial meltdown causing another great recession – one that destroys the customers base, credit and loans small businesses need to survive.

  • to cripple any chance for comprehensive national energy and climate legislation – a significant opportunity for jumpstarting a green economy that will both create new small businesses and offer more opportunities for existing ones.
These and other goals of big corporations, many that now have no allegiance to our country or any country, are likely to be successful not on the merits of the ideas but on the size of the corporate campaign chests.

Fortunately, citizens and small businesses across this country are organizing to take back our democracy from these corporate “persons.” We understand that what the Egyptians are demonstrating to get, we are on the verge of losing.

So while our members of Congress publicly express their support for the Egyptian peoples’ desire for real democracy, they need to look at the direction our own country is heading and start listening to the concerns of our citizens and small businesses.

Egypt is a warning to the United States.

Frank Knapp Jr. is president and CEO of The South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce. While this commentary has appeared in newspapers across the country, Statehouse Report is the first to publish it in South Carolina.
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Scorecard

From Mississippi to Sanford, Bright

Mississippi. South Carolina is no longer the craziest state in the union, as Mississippi’s legislature is considering a bill that would allow car owners to purchase a special state license plate honoring Nathan Bedford Forrest, the first grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. Top that, Glenn McConnell!  More.

Texting. A bill is moving through the legislature to ban texting while driving; how law enforcement is expected to enforce any future law is unclear.  More.

Poverty. A new report stated that close to half of the state under the age of 18 “lived in some officially measured degree of poverty.” More.

Abortion. A House subcommittee passed a bill that would allow health workers to opt out of performing certain procedures on moral grounds. The big question isn’t when life begins, but when will this time-wasting wedge issue will die.  More.

Sanford. Did the former governor’s administration instruct one of his cabinet agencies to not fully disclose its failing fiscal situation? The legacy doesn’t look so good.  More.

Bright. A company run by Sen. Lee Bright (R-Roebuck) has been hit with a $67,000 lien for unpaid state taxes. Maybe he should print his own currency.  More.

Guns. A bill that would allow legal gun owners to carry concealed weapons without a permit is being pushed by Rep. Mike Pitts (R-Laurens), a retired cop and gun rights advocate.  Are we trying to knock Mississippi out of first place again? More.

Stegelin

Try this on for size


Also from Stegelin: 2/11 | 2/4 | 1/28 | 1/21 | 1/14 | 1/7
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Editor and Publisher: Andy Brack
Senior Editor: Bill Davis
Contributing Photographer: Michael Kaynard

Phone: 843.670.3996

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Excerpts from The South Carolina Encyclopedia are published with permission and copyrighted 2006 by the Humanities Council SC. Excerpts were edited by Walter Edgar and published by the University of South Carolina Press. Statehouse Report has partnered with USC Press to provide readers with this interesting weekly historical excerpt about the state. Republication is not allowed. For additional information about Statehouse Report, including information on underwriting, go to http://www.statehousereport.com/.