Commentary

BRACK:  Lawmakers, state residents must deal with opioid abuse now

BRACK: Lawmakers, state residents must deal with opioid abuse now

By Andy Brack, Statehouse Report | If you don’t think abuse of legally-prescribed painkillers is a problem in South Carolina, just keep this number in mind: 61 million.

That’s the number of powerful, synthesized narcotic pills, known as opioids, that medical professionals prescribed in 2014 in just three counties — Charleston, Greenville and Horry.

Opioids include synthesized oxycodone with trade names like OxyContin, Percocet and Percodan. These legal, synthesized drugs relieve pain, but produce highs like their vilified cousins, morphine and heroin.

by · 02/24/2017 · Andy Brack, Commentary
FRENCH: Anti-Semitism bill would chill legitimate criticism

FRENCH: Anti-Semitism bill would chill legitimate criticism

By Kristin French, Special to Statehouse Report | S.C. Rep. Alan Clemmons (R-Horry) recently introduced a bill that intends to limit speech critical of Israel in S.C. institutions of higher education. This bill, H. 3643, is patterned after S. 10, a bill sponsored by U.S. Sen. Tim Scott in the U.S. Senate during the 2015-16 session of Congress.

Both bills use definitions of anti-Semitism proposed by the U.S. State Department in 2010 to guide State Department employees. The definition may be an appropriate recommendation for diplomats, but it is not appropriate for professors and students debating or discussing policies and history of Israel. The attempt to investigate and punish criticism of Israel or any other government is quite chilling, and is arguably a violation of the protections of political speech in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

BRACK:  Being proud to be Southern ain’t going away anytime soon

BRACK: Being proud to be Southern ain’t going away anytime soon

By Andy Brack, Statehouse Report | Back in 2009, an Australian friend’s son wanted to learn about the South. He visited in Charleston for a few days. Then we piled into an old Ford Explorer and set off to see the South.

In eight days and 2,277 miles to Arkansas and back, we saw three Confederate flags, met with a former governor of Mississippi, visited a presidential library, trod on a Civil War battlefield, attended a service at a black megachurch, ate lots of good food and listened. By the end of the trip, my then-18-year-old friend came to a conclusion that lots of academics have spent lifetimes trying to understand: “Southern identity is a lot more complicated than it might seem,” he observed.

by · 02/17/2017 · Andy Brack, Commentary
SAUL: A three-step path forward for Southern Democrats

SAUL: A three-step path forward for Southern Democrats

By Ben Saul, special to Statehouse Report | In 2008, Southern Democrats played an outsized role in electing our nation’s first African-American president. In fact, the election of Barack Obama influenced me, a white male Southerner, to become a Democrat.

That election taught me that politics is about values: Who cares about us and empathizes with others? Yet since 2008, Southern Democrats have not succeeded in branding our policy ideas around a core set of values.

BRACK:  Where’s the saber-rattling over the ask for a federal bailout?

BRACK: Where’s the saber-rattling over the ask for a federal bailout?

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher | Two questions:

1. What is the state that was offered $11 billion from the federal government to provide better health care for the poorest of its citizens and said no?

2. What is the state that now wants the federal government to provide a $5 billion bailout for roads after not doing enough over the last 30 years to meet their infrastructure obligations?

Answer: South Carolina, also now known as the Hypocrisy State.

by · 02/10/2017 · Andy Brack, Commentary
FEEDBACK:  On Leatherman, plastic bags and radical right

FEEDBACK: On Leatherman, plastic bags and radical right

Take a look at three letters this week:

* Enjoyed article on Sen. Hugh Leatherman
* Antigovernment groups behind efforts to thwart plastic bag bans
* Radical right has hurt state

by · 02/10/2017 · Commentary, Feedback
Article II of the U.S. Constitution includes language related to reapportionment.

MY TURN: League focuses on ethics reform, redistricting, judges

By Julie Hussey and JoAnne Day, special to Statehouse Report | The central focus of the League of Women Voters nationally and in South Carolina is “making democracy work.” We are especially concerned with issues that relate to how our government is organized, how it functions and how accountable it is to the citizens it serves. Based on this, we have identified some priorities for the 2017 session of the General Assembly.

BRACK:  S.C. is lucky to have Leatherman where he is

BRACK: S.C. is lucky to have Leatherman where he is

By Andy Brack, Statehouse Report | State Sen. Hugh Leatherman, president pro tempore of the Senate, never made it a secret that he didn’t want to be lieutenant governor.

When elected by Democratic and Republican colleagues a couple of years ago to the top organizational job in the chamber, he made it crystal clear that if a vacancy was imminent in the lieutenant governor’s position, he would step down as pro tem to remain chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.

by · 02/03/2017 · Andy Brack, Commentary