News briefs

NEWS BRIEFS: Dems to convene on issues, Riley Institute to honor two

NEWS BRIEFS: Dems to convene on issues, Riley Institute to honor two

Staff reports  |  State Democrats say there’s nothing more important that they can do right now to prepare for the 2018 elections than have deep discussions about issues.

On Friday and Saturday, more than 200 Democrats are expected to do just that at the Spratt Issues Conference in Columbia. 

“We are going to talk about the issues affecting our state and not shy away from the difficult issues,” party chairman Trav Robertson told Statehouse Report. 

Kicking off the event will be a Friday keynote dinner featuring U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff, the California Democrat who has been leading the charge on the congressional investigation of Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election.  The ticketed 7 p.m. event will be at the Coop, 1100 Key Road,  Columbia.

Also: Furman’s Riley Institute to honor Newton, Bolden

by · 12/07/2017 · News, News briefs
An oil drilling platform off of the California coast.

NEWS: House committee to meet Tuesday on seismic testing offshore

By Lindsay Street, Statehouse correspondent  |  A special S.C. House subcommittee will hear from the public Tuesday on whether there is a way to make surveying for offshore oil and natural gas drilling more palatable to environmentalists, tourism leaders and others in the state.

The S.C. House Agriculture Committee’s ad hoc committee on offshore drilling will host a daylong hearing. Starting at 10 a.m. Nov 28,  elected leaders from the coast — including Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg and Beaufort Mayor Billy Keyserling — will speak against the federal government’s move to open offshore drilling in the Atlantic. In the afternoon, Georgetown County Republican state  Sen. Stephen Goldfinch, a surveying proponent, is expected to  speak.

by · 11/24/2017 · News, News briefs
NEWS: Group releases 15 recommendations for improving rural health

NEWS: Group releases 15 recommendations for improving rural health

By Lindsay Street, Statehouse correspondent  |  A state nonprofit has released its first action plan for improving health for 1 million-plus rural South Carolinians living who are more likely to get sick and die sooner than their urban and suburban peers.

The S.C. Office of Rural Health, along with partners, stakeholders, friends, and neighbors from across the state, recently presented its framework to enhance rural health outcomes in South Carolina’s Rural Health Action Plan. The plan contains 15 recommendations and 50-plus corresponding action steps, intended to spur progress over the next three to five years.

According to the United Health Foundation, South Carolina is 42nd in the nation for health. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s County Health Rankings also show the state’s rural counties experience the worst health outcomes in the state.

by · 11/22/2017 · News, News briefs
BRIEF: State previews IDs; Aiken closes publication to take state job

BRIEF: State previews IDs; Aiken closes publication to take state job

By Lindsay Street, Statehouse correspondent  |  New drivers’ licenses that are compliant with federal rules will be available early next year, according to the S.C. Department of Motor Vehicles, which released images of the new REAL ID cards this week. Use of the new licenses is voluntary.

According to a news release, SCDMV said residents may be able to buy the new REAL ID licenses online with a valid credit card in 2018.

by · 11/15/2017 · News, News briefs
BRIEF: State says Amazon owes $57 million in uncollected sales taxes

BRIEF: State says Amazon owes $57 million in uncollected sales taxes

By Lindsay Street, Statehouse correspondent  |  South Carolina estimates that $57 million is missing from its coffers because retail giant Amazon failed to collect sales tax from third-party sellers. Amazon has disputed the claim, saying third-party vendors are responsible for any sales tax owed on those sales.

In a motion filed Wednesday with the S.C. administrative law court, the S.C. Department of Revenue (SCDOR) said that Amazon was responsible for collecting sales tax from all sales through its site, and that it has “selectively chosen to collect and remit on only some of its sales,”  costing the state out of millions over the last two years since a sales-tax exemption expired.

Previously, SCDOR only revealed a snippet of the alleged missing cash from 2016, saying Amazon failed to give the state $12 million in first quarter of 2016.

by · 11/10/2017 · News, News briefs
S.C. gun safety advocacy group seeks middle ground to curb tragedies

S.C. gun safety advocacy group seeks middle ground to curb tragedies

By Lindsay Street, Statehouse correspondent  |  A gun safety lobbying group founded in 2015 after South Carolina’s mass shooting at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston  is still struggling to get lawmakers to listen.

Arm-in-Arm, a South Carolina grassroots group, said it is having trouble despite 2015 and 2016 polls showing more than 80 percent of South Carolinians favor stricter background checks on gun purchases.

“It’s reckless and irresponsible for South Carolina to not have reasonable laws that prevent people from getting guns if they should not have them in the first place,” spokesman Meghan Trezies said in an email exchange with Statehouse Report. “The biggest battle is to be heard.

by · 11/09/2017 · News, News briefs
Race still matters across South, Winthrop Poll suggests

Race still matters across South, Winthrop Poll suggests

By Andy Brack, editor and publisher  |  Race still seems to matter across the South, but maybe not as much as it used to in some areas, based on results from a new Winthrop Poll released today.

Overall, black and white Southerners have different ways of looking at how the country is doing and with how they perceive slavery, discrimination, success, religion and Confederate monuments.  But the two races agree on their views of liberty, success, Southern qualities and some extremists. Consider:

Country’s track:  Seven out of eight blacks (88 percent) said they thought the country is headed in the wrong direction, compared to 55 percent of whites.  Three in five black respondents think the country’s economic conditions are getting worse, compared to 28 percent of whites.

by · 11/08/2017 · News, News briefs
NEWS BRIEF: Can a Kentucky program help S.C.’s poorest schools?

NEWS BRIEF: Can a Kentucky program help S.C.’s poorest schools?

By Lindsay Street, Statehouse correspondent  |  A strategy that has found success in Kentucky and elsewhere is being billed as a way for South Carolina to comply with the 2014 state Supreme Court decision to bring poor, rural schools up to standard.

If implemented, the Community School program would be operated through S.C. Department of Education, making $25 million in state grants available for poor, rural district schools and $100,000 in grants per year per school for operating at the school level. The program is focused on making schools a central focus of the community.

The S.C. Education Association (SCEA) recommended the strategy for complying with the Abbeville v. the State of South Carolina decision …

by · 11/01/2017 · News, News briefs, Politics