Sunday, Sept. 12, 2004
voters with vital information
SC Statehouse Report
12, 2004 -- With elections less than two months away, people
are starting to scratch their heads about which candidate
they should support.
In past years, much of the available information on which
to base decisions came from the candidates - - from TV and
radio ads, direct mail pieces, door-to-door campaigning, flyers,
and lately, Internet sites.
But as one would expect, the information is slanted. Candidates
put themselves in a positive light and paint their opponents
While many people still base decisions on candidate communications,
third-party groups in South Carolina are starting to provide
more information to help people make choices.
Cecil Cahoon, government relations director at the South
Carolina Education Association, said his group's new scorecard
gives members information on how lawmakers are working to
promote its educational objectives.
In an age when schools are being measured every way imaginable
through standardized tests and school report cards, a scorecard
of lawmakers' performance is particularly helpful since legislators,
not teachers, fund education, he said.
WORLD: Call from the top
Rebuttals on global warming, cigarette taxes
Who's up and down
encourage your feedback. If you'd like to respond to
something in SC Statehouse Report, please
send us an e-mail. We reserve the right to edit for
length and clarity. One submission allowed per month.
Submission of a comment grants permission to us to reprint.
Please keep your comment to 250 words or less:
"Accountability matters not just in the classroom, but
in the committee room," Cahoon said. "Heretofore,
the only ones who were being held accountable was the education
But Ed McMullen, head of the conservative S.C. Policy Council,
warned the scorecard might end up hurting the organization
because it might marginalize the Republican leadership in
the General Assembly.
"There's nothing more exciting to me than to have a
scorecard from the education union," said McMullen, who
enjoys sparing with the Education Association over issues
like school choice and vouchers.
He noted scorecards can be useful in helping organizations
to attain legislative goals. A group affiliated with the Council
had a scorecard in the mid-1980s through mid-1990s. But the
group stopped issuing a scorecard about the time the GOP took
over the House, in part because most of its goals had been
accomplished to create a General Assembly that was for more
He predicts the Education Association's scorecard will be
a failure because it will irritate the same GOP leadership
the Association wants to adopt and implement its policy goals.
But in reality, Republicans in the General Assembly, 80 of
whom received failing grades in the Association's scorecard,
don't seem to be swayed by the SCEA's agenda anyway. That
means the scorecard might really be most useful in helping
its thousands of members (teachers) - - and by extension,
voters - - to learn more about what lawmakers are really doing
in Columbia when voting on education.
So now instead of just hearing from Republicans and Democrats
about how "pro-education" they are, people can use
the scorecard to get documented information to help them to
gauge lawmakers' performance, ask more detailed questions
and learn more about voting records.
least three other groups provide scorecards that give more
insight into what lawmakers are doing:
- The new Conservation Voters of South Carolina (http://www.conservationvotersofsc.org)
this week released its first scorecard of conservation votes
in the General Assembly. Eight House members - - all Democrats
- - scored 100 to mirror the group's positions on 10 votes.
Fourteen members - - one Democrat and 13 Republicans - -
scored zero on votes on wetlands, hog farms, conservation
trust funds and more. The group did not do a scorecard for
the Senate because there was only one conservation-related
- The South Carolina Business and Industry Political
Education Committee (http://www.scbipec.com)
is finishing work on its 2004 legislative scorecard, which
generally is available only to members and the media. It
analyzed 17 House and five Senate votes that it believed
had impact on the business community. In general, Republicans
scored higher than Democrats in this rating system.
- The South Carolina Chamber (http://www.scchamber.net)
has published an analysis of 14 House and five Senate votes
important to business, but didn't provide a grade.
These analyses are helpful. For too long in South Carolina,
lawmakers have operated under the radar screen. Their business
has been done in public, but there hasn't been enough accountability
on what they actually have been doing, other than in next-day
news stories which often are forgotten in the next news cycle.
More groups should consider rating lawmakers on their performance
to allow voters to have better information to make better
decisions about the leaders they want running the state.
9/12: Call from the top
This week's cartoon by our Bill McLemore:
9/10: Not a free country for everyone
To the editor:
Just the ticket, hike taxes (Statehouse
Report, 9/5). When are people like you going to learn
that the public really resents any intrusion into our lives?
Why don't you just just rethink this desire to exert you power
on others and leave us alone? This is still the United States
of America, isn't it? Worry about your own family and forget
about intruding on others.
-- Jeff Stoll, Beaufort,S.C.
warming is a hoax
To the Island Packet:
NOTE: This letter was sent to the Hilton
Head Island Packet in response to a recent column on global
Report, 8/22) . An excerpt is printed below.
Aside from the space alien now living on Hilton Head Island,
who recently wrote that hurricanes were caused by SUVs, I
don't think I've read anything quite as nonsensical as Andy
Brack's column, 'Global warming nibbling away at S.C.'
Tenth-grade science taught that global temperatures are
regulated by solar radiation. Just a few weeks ago, both Time
and Newsweek stumbled on this revelation....It's a hoax, folks.
Just another phony crisis to justify pouring hard-earned tax
dollars down another special-interest rat hole.
-- Bill Wright, Bluffton. Full letter: http://www.islandpacket.com/editorial/letters/story/3798946p-3405643c.html
LEARN MORE DAILY
best way to get South Carolina news is to augment your morning
paper and TV show with SC Clips, a daily executive
news summary compiled from more than 30 state newspaper and
TV sources. It's delivered every business day and is packed
with news of statewide impact, politics, business and more.
Subscriptions are affordable at $30 per month -- and less
for business subscribers. More: SC
SOUTH CAROLINA SCORECARD
Here's a "thumbs up" and "thumbs down" related to various
political events from the past week:
PACT scores. After recent bad news about an SAT drop,
it's good news to hear PACT scores are on the way up across
School fighters. Hats off to the four Clarendon County
families who were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal for
their ancestors' fights to desegregate the schools in the
landmark Briggs v. Elliott case in the late 1940s and
early 1950s. The medals, pushed by U.S. Sen. Fritz Hollings
and U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn, were awarded last week.
Florence election. It's also good news to hear the
Florence Senate election for the seat held by Sen. Maggie
Glover finally will be be held again.
Silver Card. According to press reports, the Silver
Card program to make prescription drugs more affordable to
seniors is on the way out. State lawmakers should invest in
it and save it.
How you can subscribe to the full edition
of the report
The above version of S.C. Statehouse Report is the
free edition. Our paid version, which costs about $100 per
month, offer a weekly legislative forecast packed with information
that can keep you and your business on the cutting edge.
Notes veteran lawmaker Sen. Glenn McConnell: "Statehouse
Report gives an inside practical report of weekly problems
with and progress of legislation. It reviews the whole landscape."
In each issue of Statehouse Report, you'll get::
Hot issue -- an early peek at weekly commentary
on something really big. Last year, we continually beat
other news organizations in finding major trends in issues,
from teacher and budget cuts to wetlands proposals.
Agenda -- a weekly forecast of the coming week's
Radar Screen -- a behind-the-scenes look at what's
really going on in the General Assembly
McLemore's World -- an early view of our respected
cartoonist Bill McLemore.
Tally Sheet -- a weekly review of all of the new
bills introduced in the legislature in everyday language
Scorecard -- A Thumbs Up and Thumbs Down of major
political/policy events for the week.
Calendar -- a weekly list of major meetings for
the House, Senate and state agencies.
Megaphone -- a quote of the week that you'll find
To learn more about subscriptions, contact Andy Brack at: