Commentary

BRACK: Remembering Pug Ravenel

BRACK: Remembering Pug Ravenel

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher | Pug Ravenel’s intensity on the football field – his zeal to be the best – stretched into the political arena years later when he inspired young men and women who wanted to change how politics worked in the state. His “reformer” spirit guided newcomers like Joe Riley, who became Charleston’s longtime mayor.

Ravenel, who later ran unsuccessfully for U.S. Senate against Strom Thurmond in 1978 and for Congress two years later, outlined a new path in politics in South Carolina. As one Facebook observer noted, “South Carolina lost so much for not electing him three times.”

We’ll miss Pug’s intensity, his piercing intellect, his openness to new things and his thoughtful energy fueled by ideas and common sense.

by · 03/27/2017 · Andy Brack, Commentary
FEEDBACK:  More than college-educated women; special elections

FEEDBACK: More than college-educated women; special elections

Irene Gale, Myrtle Beach: I like most of your ideas, but I disagree that this is for college-educated women in a certain age group. As a recent newcomer from free state of Maryland and not a graduate, I vehemently disagree. Yes, women are the answer, but any woman who is appalled by the state and country falling to Republican lies can do her part.” Also, a letter on SC-5.

by · 03/24/2017 · Commentary, Feedback
BRACK:  Statehouse’s culture of coziness doesn’t automatically mean corruption

BRACK: Statehouse’s culture of coziness doesn’t automatically mean corruption

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher | An ongoing ethics investigation at the Statehouse has elected officials twitchy, looking over their shoulders in attempts to figure out what’s coming. For the second time in two dozen years, there’s a dark pall looming over the legislature.

But if you think everybody who works on the Statehouse grounds is corrupt, you’d be wrong. Most are hard-working, good people trying to make a difference in a place where a culture of coziness can lead some to fall from grace.

Last year, the state Supreme Court gave authority to First Circuit Solicitor David Pascoe to continue a state grand jury investigation that started with the downfall of former House Speaker Bobby Harrell in 2014 over misuse of campaign funds.

by · 03/24/2017 · Andy Brack, Commentary
MY TURN:  Focus on health care, not just police, with opioid crisis

MY TURN: Focus on health care, not just police, with opioid crisis

By Elaine Pawlowski, special to Statehouse Report | I am thankful that it has been announced that more than 10 bills are filed to address the S.C. opioid epidemic. Although legislative steps are needed, I would say that the devil is in the details on whether the legislation will reduce the overdose rate.

If legislators look at their own and other states’ legislation, they will see that poorly-written laws have increased the use of illegal drugs, increased HIV and Hepatitis C rates, added more children to the foster care system, broken apart families and increased rates of death from mixed drug poisoning. Continuing to expand law enforcement while blocking access to medication and treatment options has proven to be counterproductive.

by · 03/24/2017 · Commentary, My Turn
FEEDBACK:  Keep de la Howe school open; more on nurse practitioners

FEEDBACK: Keep de la Howe school open; more on nurse practitioners

Barbara Devinney, McCormick: Thank you, Bill Davis, for your article on John de la Howe in the March 10 issue of Statehouse Report. I appreciate the coverage you’ve given to the agency, and I’ve enjoyed reading your email newsletter over the past several years.

Also: Two letters supporting more flexibility for nurse practitioners.

by · 03/17/2017 · Commentary, Feedback
BRACK: How can South Carolina Democrats start winning more?

BRACK: How can South Carolina Democrats start winning more?

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher | With strings of losses in statewide contests over the last few years, you’d think South Carolina Democrats would be down and out. But with President Donald Trump irritating people left and right, there’s a growing enthusiasm that maybe Democrats can take advantage of new cards being dealt them.

To do so, they’re going to have to be disciplined, raise money, create a more appealing message and target sympathetic voters. And, as one longtime insider notes, they’ll have to have some pretty good luck. But the conditions in reliably red South Carolina are bubbling for Democrats at the state level to have a little more success.

by · 03/17/2017 · Andy Brack, Commentary
FEEDBACK:  Readers say it’s time to change rules for nurse practitioners

FEEDBACK: Readers say it’s time to change rules for nurse practitioners

From Helen Ngigi, Smyrna: This new legislation S.C. Senate bill 345 would go a long way in reducing costs to the state of S.C., and keep patients out of the emergency room. This bill is very important in helping improve the health of all patients, especially those in rural areas. Nurse practitioners have a proven record of providing quality care to their patients with chronic diseases, such as diabetes, hypertension and asthma, among others.” Other letters from Dr. John MacLaurin and nurse Alison MacLeod

by · 03/10/2017 · Commentary, Feedback
BRACK:  State continues to underfund public education

BRACK: State continues to underfund public education

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher| There’s a bunch of money in the proposed House version of the state budget for education, but it’s still not what the law requires.

South Carolina has a funding formula that mandates spending for 2017-18 of a “base student cost” of $2,984 per student. House budget writers, as has been common practice in the legislature since 2010, have reduced the mandated cost to $2,400 per student by “determining” in a budget proviso that they want base spending to be lower. In other words, they get around the law by simply rewriting the mandate year after year. In 2017-18, it means the 721,401 students in K-12 schools will get $421.3 million less than what they are supposed to get by law.

by · 03/10/2017 · Andy Brack, Commentary