Palmetto Politics

BRIEF:  Shock and awe

BRIEF: Shock and awe

Staff reports | Members of the state legislature are still in shock over allegations that state Sen. John Courson (R-Columbia) has been indicted on ethics charges.

BRIEFS:  Budget process starts second phase; training in Charleston

BRIEFS: Budget process starts second phase; training in Charleston

Staff reports | The Senate Finance Committee will start its budget process next week with various meetings in which senators will take up components of the just-passed $8 billion House budget and mold them to their liking.

BRIEFS: More women elected to county positions than legislature

BRIEFS: More women elected to county positions than legislature

Staff reports | With South Carolina ranking among the bottom nationally in the number of women elected to the General Assembly, it’s not surprising males occupy more than five out of every six legislative seats. But does trend carry over at the county level, adjunct professor Dan Ruff of Midlands Technical College wondered. The answer, it seems, is generally no.

Also in this brief is a look at women’s health issues related to two bills and the state budget.

Potholes riddle an Orangeburg County highway.  Photo by Andy Brack.

BRIEF: Your view on taxes might be based on how things are framed

Staff reports | If you heard that a particular proposal raised taxes a “whopping 60 percent,” you might think that wasn’t so great.

But what if you were told a tax hike would cost the average resident just $5 per month? Would that seem a big deal, or something to shrug off?

Now let’s take these questions to another level: What if both statements were talking about the very same issue?

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.

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.

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
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.”