My Turn

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
CAMPBELL:  Government works best in the sunshine

CAMPBELL: Government works best in the sunshine

By Reba Hull Campbell, special to Statehouse Report | As the elected officials closest to the people they serve, mayors and council members have the most direct contact with the people who elect them. Municipal leaders sit with their constituents at church, eat with them at the corner lunch spot and cheer with them for the local ball teams.

Two characteristics of a great democracy are citizen participation and the discussion of public business in public. Trust is a critical element in this partnership. Municipal governmental leaders must uphold that trust by building a healthy, positive relationship with their residents.

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.

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.

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.

ULBRICH: Every vote should matter!

ULBRICH: Every vote should matter!

By Holley Ulbrich, special to Statehouse Report | One lesson from last year’s primary and general election that shouldn’t be lost is that we all would like our vote to matter. So what are the obstacles?

The Electoral College is one, where votes in small states count more than votes in large states enabling a fairly convincing popular vote win to translate into an Electoral College loss. The interminable primary season is another, with a mix of caucuses and primaries with different rules for different parties and different states, even though the winner is supposed to serve the whole country.

by · 01/20/2017 · Commentary, My Turn
A National Park Service volunteer examines a beached pilot whale in the Florida Everglades.  While the cause of the whale’s death in 2013 was unclear, the photo resembles strandings in New Zealand at the end of 2016.  Photo via Wikipedia.

KNAPP: The truth about seismic testing

By Frank Knapp Jr., special to Statehouse Report | Here is a political axiom: If you say an untruth often enough, loud enough and that untruth is never rebutted with the same intensity, the public and government officials eventually believe it.

This is the political axiom that the proponents of seismic testing for offshore oil rely upon when trying to counter the overwhelming Atlantic Coast public opposition to this destructive exploration process.

Last Friday, the Obama Administration’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management denied all seismic testing permits for oil exploration off the Atlantic Coast. Local coastal businesses, governments, environmental organizations and citizen groups were overjoyed.

by · 01/11/2017 · Commentary, My Turn
Oregon vote-by-mail ballot, via Wikipedia.

BASS: Oregon’s election system offers model for S.C.

By Jack Bass | Oregon’s system of Vote By Mail offers a model that for South Carolina would save millions of dollars to buy new voting machines, avoid long lines for voting, and insure total security for elections results.

It is used for all elections: federal, state, and local, whether primary, general or special, and has been in operation for roughly 25 years. One result is increased voter participation by working parents and senior citizens. The system makes voter fraud virtually impossible, and research has shown that the system favors neither party.

by · 01/04/2017 · Commentary, My Turn