My Turn

WELBORN: Working to bolster state’s local food production

WELBORN: Working to bolster state’s local food production

By Katie Welborn, special to Statehouse Report | We choose who succeeds by how we spend our money. Every time we purchase food products from other states and countries, we’re not purchasing them from agricultural entrepreneurs here at home.

Did you know that only 10 percent of the food that we eat in-state is actually farmed here? In South Carolina, we have a huge gap between farmers who are producing food to sell at retail prices at farmers markets, roadside stands and off of their front porches and farmers who are able to sell at wholesale prices to and through mainline food distributors to hospitals, schools, restaurants and grocery stores.

Allen

ALLEN: Legislators say we spend too much, but they’re spending!

By Elisabeth Allen, special to Statehouse Report | Statehouse politicians love to wax eloquent about the dangers of spending too much money on non-essential services – right before spending too much money on non-essential services.

ULBRICH:  Whatever happened to Home Rule?

ULBRICH: Whatever happened to Home Rule?

By Holley Ulbrich, special to Statehouse Report | Lurking in the shadows of the big issues, pension reform and roads, is a nagging continuing question that arose again in the context of a school district bill for Pickens County.

About six years ago at the request of a group of angry citizens, legislators stripped the Pickens County School Board of its three at-large seats, leaving it with six numbered seats. After numerous citizen protests of this arbitrary action, this year’s General Assembly passed a bill to restore one seat as a numbered seat, making it seven and providing a tie breaker.

MY TURN:  Make a difference now in reducing gun violence

MY TURN: Make a difference now in reducing gun violence

By Judy Hines, special to Statehouse Report | A window of opportunity to effect change in gun violence in South Carolina has opened with the referral of several gun-related bills to Senate subcommittees. Immediate action from citizens to legislators in support of key bills will make the difference. This is the first time bills designed to tackle the problem of gun violence have reached subcommittee consideration since the Emanuel Nine shootings in 2015.

Shem Creek

MY TURN: S.C. Picture Project seeks sponsor to document culture, state

By Robin Welch, special to Statehouse Report | In just a few short weeks, SCIWAY will turn 21, which means we are now old enough to buy a good stiff drink!

As it turns out, we may need one. Over the past two decades, we’ve grown from a simple online portal with links to 23 other South Carolina websites – all that existed at the time – into a wide-ranging collection of original maps, detailed essays, and useful guides to state and local resources, including such things as S.C. events, S.C. elections, S.C. pronunciations, and – especially important this time of year – S.C. taxes.

ELMORE: No Kill South Carolina is changing the face of animal welfare

ELMORE: No Kill South Carolina is changing the face of animal welfare

By Joe Elmore, special to Statehouse Report | Despite Charleston County becoming the Southeast’s first No Kill Community in 2013, tens of thousands of animals in other areas of South Carolina are dying needlessly due to a lack of best practices and resources.

To combat these alarming statistics, Charleston Animal Society, South Carolina’s first animal protection organization and one of the oldest (143 years) in the nation, launched No Kill South Carolina (NKSC) in 2015. Funded by a generous grant from Petco Foundation, No Kill South Carolina hit the ground a year later and is arguably the boldest grassroots animal care initiative ever undertaken in the U.S.

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.