Politics

BRIEFS:  Pension reform on the way; Winthrop Poll and Trump

BRIEFS: Pension reform on the way; Winthrop Poll and Trump

Staff reports | It looks like the General Assembly is serious about enacting state pension reform this legislative session, perhaps as early as next week in the House. Currently, the state pension systems are grossly underfunded, with tens of billions of dollars in unfunded obligations. The shortfall amount swells from $20 billion to $40 billion, depending to whom in Columbia you are talking. The pension system covers everyone from state employees to city cops and county teachers, and more.

Also in today’s briefs is a look at how South Carolinians feel about President Donald Trump compared to others and groups, according to a new Winthrop Poll.

TALLY SHEET:   Lawmakers file bills to thwart opioid abuse

TALLY SHEET: Lawmakers file bills to thwart opioid abuse

Staff reports | Four Republican House members this week filed a package of 10 bills designed to thwart the rising epidemic of opioid and heroin abuse.

It’s a comprehensive approach to build a foundation to address the problem of rising additions to legal painkillers and heroin, according to state Reps. Eric Bedingfield of Greenville, Russell Fry of Surfside Beach, Phyllis Henderson of Greenville and Chip Huggins of Columbia.

by · 02/24/2017 · Politics, Tally Sheet
BRIEFS:  It’s budget time; Remembering Joe Neal

BRIEFS: It’s budget time; Remembering Joe Neal

Staff reports | Lace up your budget boots because it’s already time to get serious. Next week, the House Ways and Means Committee will hold its full committee deliberations.

Because the legislature this year meets a full month less than in the past, the whole budgeting process is moving along at a quicker pace than many are used to. In the past, lawmakers generally voted on the budget by the first week of June. This year, though, they’re hoping to finish by May 1.

TALLY SHEET:  Bills introduced on tax credits, relief and sales tax exemptions

TALLY SHEET: Bills introduced on tax credits, relief and sales tax exemptions

Staff reports | State lawmakers introduced 108 bills over the past week, many of which were congratulatory or memorials, such as one to honor the late Rep. Joe Neal, D-Hopkins, for his service. He died Tuesday.

In the Senate, members introduced bills related to financial exploitation of vulnerable adults as well as measures for agriculture and rural jobs, community development tax credits and municipal tax relief.

In the House, state Rep. Josh Putnam. R-Piedmont, introduced several measures seeking to get rid of the state Transportation Commission and have the Department of Transportation eventually run by an elected secretary. He also proposed getting rid of all state sales tax exemptions.

by · 02/17/2017 · Politics, Tally Sheet
NEWS BRIEF:  Reading is fundamental

NEWS BRIEF: Reading is fundamental

Staff reports | The Republican-dominated House this voted to approve a resolution calling on new Gov. Henry McMaster to expand Medicaid in South Carolina.

WHAAAAATTT?!?!?!

by · 02/10/2017 · News, Palmetto Politics
TALLY SHEET:   Bills to help the working poor, raise gas tax, fix pension system

TALLY SHEET: Bills to help the working poor, raise gas tax, fix pension system

Staff reports | Lawmakers introduced 101 bills over the last week, including several measures by S.C. Sen. Marlon Kimpson, D-Charleston, aimed at helping low-income South Carolinians through a tax credit for the working poor and low-income housing credits.

by · 02/10/2017 · News, Tally Sheet
BRIEFS:  From plastic bags to education policy and Fritz Hollings

BRIEFS: From plastic bags to education policy and Fritz Hollings

Staff reports | Who knew there was a “plastic bag lobby?” But there apparently is, according to environmental activists who are trying to thwart an effort to limit local governments’ abilities to make decisions about how they want to deal with waste in their boundaries.

In recent weeks, Isle of Palms and Folly Beach have banned plastic bags and Styrofoam containers as a way of keeping debris out of streams and the ocean. According to the S.C. Coastal Conservation League, “Communities up and down our coast are exploring ways to reduce single-use plastic items in order to keep our beaches clean and our sea creatures safe. Plastic products are easy to discard and break down into smaller bits called microplastics, harming sea turtles, dolphins, whales, and birds. Those microplastics also work their way through the food chain, through fish and ultimately to humans.”

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TALLY SHEET: From redistricting to revenge porn

Lawmakers introduced 106 new bills in the House and Senate over the last week including companion bills that seek to thwart neighbors from filing “nuisance suits” against nearby manufacturers or industrial facilities.

In the Senate, Sen. Nikki Setzler (D-Lexington) is seeking a measure to have an independent commission to conduct redistricting of House, Senate and congressional districts every 10 years – a move that attempts to remove some of the political gerrymandering that has gone on for years.

In the House are three bills that will get some attention – a measure by Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter (D-Orangeburg) to pay women the same as men and another measure by Rep. John King (D-York) to ensure that Confederate flags aren’t displayed in public buildings other than museums. State Rep. Beth Bernstein (D-Richland) introduced a measure making “revenge porn” illegal. (We’ll let you read that bill.)

by · 02/02/2017 · Politics, Tally Sheet