Articles by: Special to Statehouse Report

MY TURN: Both sides need to stop gerrymandering

MY TURN: Both sides need to stop gerrymandering

By Elliott Brack, special to Statehouse Report  |  Gerrymandering is nothing less than a majority government being unfair to the minority of its citizens in a particular area.

It is also an obvious case of bullying by the majority government. If it happened on the playground, people would yell, holler and stop it.

Yet it’s happened repeatedly in our halls of government, and no major challenge has risen to outlaw this practice. Why can’t our legislators understand this unfairness, and move to outlaw it? It’s something that both our American political parties have practiced for years, trying to ensure that power remains in the hands of the at-that-time majority government.

MY TURN:  PBMS will save $10 billion in S.C. drug costs over 10 years

MY TURN:  PBMS will save $10 billion in S.C. drug costs over 10 years

By Dr. Edmund J. Pezalla, special to Statehouse Report |  There is so much rancor and finger-pointing these days over prescription drug prices that consumers are often left to wonder: who is fighting on their behalf? The answer: Pharmacy Benefit Managers, or PBMs.

Companies and public programs providing prescription drug coverage hire PBMs for their expertise, and ability to reduce drug costs by negotiating for rebates and discounts from big drug companies and drugstores. It would be too expensive and complicated for employers, or other payers, to match PBMs’ ability to reduce drug costs, while providing access.

Though drug makers continue to raise prices out of proportion to increases in value, PBMs are doing their job by keeping drug costs down. In fact, PBMs will save patients and payers in South Carolina $10.3 billion over 10 years.

MY TURN:  A way to take care of income inequality for everyone

MY TURN:  A way to take care of income inequality for everyone

By Holley Hewitt Ulbrich, special to Statehouse Report  |  Growing income inequality gets a lot of press these days. Some of it is about bargaining power.  Some of it is about productivity.  But some of it also is about plain, old arithmetic. 

Every July, I get a raise from the state retirement system.  We state retirees get 1 percent or $500, whichever is less.  So a retiree whose pension is $50,000 or more gets $500, or $41.67 a month.  A retiree whose pension is $10,000 would get $100, or $12.50 a month.  The raise is supposed to help pay for increases in the prices of what we buy. 

MY TURN, Kinard: Reconsider proposed changes to state pension plan

MY TURN, Kinard: Reconsider proposed changes to state pension plan

Open letter to S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster:

I hope this letter finds you well after our Labor Day holiday. I find it disheartening, on the day after a holiday designed to commemorate and honor American workers, that I must write to you about a choice you are making that will greatly harm and jeopardize the livelihoods of workers in South Carolina that you now govern. You are taking a stance against your own public employees by seeking to remove their pensions and retirement plans because of actions over which they had no control.

I find it not only heartless but also ill-conceived to wish to alter the benefits of current and future public workers in our state and would ask that you reconsider this position before it does irreparable damage to our state, its economy and the lives of our workforce.

MY TURN:  Carolina Umbra

MY TURN:  Carolina Umbra

By Marjory Wentworth, S.C. poet laureate

Boats fly out of the Atlantic
and moor themselves in my backyard
where tiny flowers, forgotten
by the wind, toss their astral heads
from side to side.  Mouths ablaze, open,
and filling with rain.

After the hurricane, you can see
the snapped open drawbridge slide
beneath the waves on the evening news.
You go cold imagining
such enormous fingers of wind
that split a steel hinge until
its jaw opens toward heaven.

A satellite image on Sept. 6, 2017, of Hurricane Irma approaching the U.S. coast/

MY TURN:  Disaster recovery is a long-term commitment

By Kelly E. Cruise, special to Statehouse Report  |  When a disaster strikes, we witness the horror nature can inflict on us.  The focus is often on the destroyed buildings, flooded streets or toppled trees. We see scared, displaced families, filling shelters and waiting in long lines for basic needs like water or food. It’s scary and we feel an urge to ‘do’ something.  Thank God we do. 

Cruise
When the immediate threat and rescue efforts are over and the headlines change, most of us, understandably, resume our normal routines. But for those impacted by a disaster, the story doesn’t end when the news crews leave.  It actually has just begun. Communities are left to pick up the pieces, both literally and figuratively. Recovering from a disaster takes a long time. …

Votes on the Confederate flag and gas taxes could impact GOP primaries next year.

MY TURN:  Groups already at work to make redistricting more transparent

By Lynn Teague, special to Statehouse Report  |  It was great to see your article on the crucial importance of the process of redrawing legislative district lines after the 2020 census. Improving this process is indeed our best hope for a better legislature in South Carolina. The public needs competitive elections and candidates who speak to a broad range of citizens.

Instead, we have groups of voters selected by legislators as likely to give them the support that they need for easy re-election. This is what is known as gerrymandering. The consequences include increased polarization in our General Assembly as well as voter apathy. Why should a politician consider a wide range of public concerns if his or her election is determined by a carefully chosen group of likeminded people?

MY TURN: Voters can go “nuclear” to stop rewarding incompetence

MY TURN: Voters can go “nuclear” to stop rewarding incompetence

By Jim Rex, special to Statehouse Report  |  As residents of South Carolina wait patiently for the [Solicitor] David Pascoe corruption investigation of South Carolina legislators and others to reach what will almost assuredly be a repugnant and embarrassing conclusion for our state and its citizens,  we have been reminded that a culture deficient in accountability for its elected and appointed representatives will inevitably find multiple ways to set aside the interests of the many to satisfy the wishes of the few.

The nuclear plants’ fiasco in Fairfield County has proven, yet again, that too many of our elected and appointed representatives are not willing to take on powerful corporations when they take advantage of consumers and taxpayers.