Articles by: Lindsay Street

Some of South Carolina's House districts.

NEWS: Redistricting should be independent, lawmakers say in survey

By Lindsay Street, Statehouse correspondent  |  Purple is a rare color when it comes to South Carolina politics: a state legislator’s seat is usually reliably red or blue with fewer than 30 percent of candidates fielding opposition in the general election, according to voting advocates.

An informal poll taken this year shows support for change among S.C. lawmakers.  Meanwhile,  two bills have been introduced that would take redistricting out of the hands of legislators through the creation of an independent commission. In Congress, another bill would create state-level independent panels and scrap single-member districts for its members.

In South Carolina, advocates are starting to push state lawmakers to take a hard look how legislative and congressional districts are drawn.   They say legislators here, like in other states, have eroded competitive general elections through partisan gerrymandering over decades.

by · 11/17/2017 · News
BRIEF: State previews IDs; Aiken closes publication to take state job

BRIEF: State previews IDs; Aiken closes publication to take state job

By Lindsay Street, Statehouse correspondent  |  New drivers’ licenses that are compliant with federal rules will be available early next year, according to the S.C. Department of Motor Vehicles, which released images of the new REAL ID cards this week. Use of the new licenses is voluntary.

According to a news release, SCDMV said residents may be able to buy the new REAL ID licenses online with a valid credit card in 2018.

by · 11/15/2017 · News, News briefs
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.

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

Here are five stories from the last week related to S.C. that you might have missed:

1. Nation’s first mass-violence resource center opens in Charleston

2. For-profit charter schools spend big with S.C. lawmakers

3. House tax reform bill could threaten historic places in South Carolina

4. Lawmakers don’t get free pass on bad behavior

5. S.C. is one of two states to see fewer black, Democratic-leaning voters

by · 11/14/2017 · News, Top Five
NEWS: Child well-being varies in S.C. as shown in tale of 2 counties

NEWS: Child well-being varies in S.C. as shown in tale of 2 counties

By Lindsay Street, Statehouse correspondent  |  Fewer than 70 miles away from each other, York and Marlboro counties represent the spectrum of outcomes for children in the Palmetto State.

Advocates say the disparities between a suburban county like York and a rural one like Marlboro come down to resources available and those resources are largely tied to economic progress and help from the state.

South Carolina ranks 39th from the top among U.S. states in child “well-being,” or wellness in data related to educational, social, economic and physical attributes.  Outcomes are even worse among the state’s racial minorities Meanwhile, there are often large gaps between South Carolina’s counties, especially when it comes to education, health and access to jobs, according to the 2017 Kids Count South Carolina report.

by · 11/10/2017 · News
BRIEF: State says Amazon owes $57 million in uncollected sales taxes

BRIEF: State says Amazon owes $57 million in uncollected sales taxes

By Lindsay Street, Statehouse correspondent  |  South Carolina estimates that $57 million is missing from its coffers because retail giant Amazon failed to collect sales tax from third-party sellers. Amazon has disputed the claim, saying third-party vendors are responsible for any sales tax owed on those sales.

In a motion filed Wednesday with the S.C. administrative law court, the S.C. Department of Revenue (SCDOR) said that Amazon was responsible for collecting sales tax from all sales through its site, and that it has “selectively chosen to collect and remit on only some of its sales,”  costing the state out of millions over the last two years since a sales-tax exemption expired.

Previously, SCDOR only revealed a snippet of the alleged missing cash from 2016, saying Amazon failed to give the state $12 million in first quarter of 2016.

by · 11/10/2017 · News, News briefs
S.C. gun safety advocacy group seeks middle ground to curb tragedies

S.C. gun safety advocacy group seeks middle ground to curb tragedies

By Lindsay Street, Statehouse correspondent  |  A gun safety lobbying group founded in 2015 after South Carolina’s mass shooting at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston  is still struggling to get lawmakers to listen.

Arm-in-Arm, a South Carolina grassroots group, said it is having trouble despite 2015 and 2016 polls showing more than 80 percent of South Carolinians favor stricter background checks on gun purchases.

“It’s reckless and irresponsible for South Carolina to not have reasonable laws that prevent people from getting guns if they should not have them in the first place,” spokesman Meghan Trezies said in an email exchange with Statehouse Report. “The biggest battle is to be heard.

by · 11/09/2017 · News, News briefs
TOP FIVE: On inaction, weak revenues, cutting prison costs, more

TOP FIVE: On inaction, weak revenues, cutting prison costs, more

Five policy-related stories that you might have missed:

1. Action still slow three years after Abbeville decision

2. Weak state revenue collections could threaten S.C. employee raises

3. S.C. among states to turn to data analytics to cut prison costs,

4. South Carolina has lowest percentage of state-licensed workforce

5. Some states are experiencing a baby boom; South Carolina isn’t one of them

by · 11/07/2017 · News, Top Five
NEWS: S.C. gets it mostly right on budgeting, new report says

NEWS: S.C. gets it mostly right on budgeting, new report says

By Lindsay Street, Statehouse correspondent  |  South Carolina received top marks for how it forecasts and maneuvers its budget, but the state needs improvement in transparency, how it funds future retiree health costs and how it funds its rainy-day accounts, according to a new national analysis.

The Volcker Alliance on Thursday released “Truth and Integrity in State Budgeting: What is the Reality.” It gives grades to the 50 states on how they addressed their annual budgets over three years. The report cards looked at budgetary practices across five categories: transparency, legacy funding, how it determines future revenue and expenditures, and how it borrows and deals with assets for expenditures. (See S.C.’s report card on p. 79)

by · 11/03/2017 · News