S.C. lawmakers routinely approve naming road sections and bridges for living or deceased persons, including ex-legislators and other former public officials.

Not only does it take up a lot of collective time that could be spent working on larger, more pressing issues, but it also comes with a cost to taxpayers – and local roads.

A little-known state law requires that the cost to the S.C. Department of Transportation to produce and erect the new road and bridge signs be reimbursed largely from a state fund designated to repair local roads.

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An attorney who works in a state senator’s law firm is Spartanburg County’s new master-in-equity judge – less than three months after the county’s legislative delegation, of which the senator is a member, quietly nominated her.

The Senate and House this week confirmed Shannon Phillips, an attorney in Sen. Scott Talley’s law firm, for the judgeship after Gov. Henry McMaster appointed her to a six-year term, based on the delegation’s recommendation.

Talley, R-Spartanburg, was appointed to the state judicial screening committee just two months before the legislatively controlled panel in November qualified Phillips for the seat held by Gordon Cooper, whose term expires June 30.

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BATON ROUGE, La. -- Senate Concurrent Resolution 38 (SCR 38), designating January 22, 2022 as the Day of Tears in Louisiana, passed the senate yesterday unanimously.

Sponsored by Senator and President Pro Tempore, Beth Mizell, (R-Franklinton), SCR 38 encourages the citizen of Louisiana to lower their flags in remembrance of those who have been lost to abortion. Louisiana joins Alabama, Arkansas, and Mississippi as the latest state to consider adopting the Day of Tears.

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No matter who’s in charge, state government in South Carolina just keeps getting bigger.

Three stand-alone state agencies created since Republican Henry McMaster became governor in 2017 – the departments of Veterans’ Affairs and Children’s Advocacy, and the newest agency, the Office of Resilience – would have combined total budgets of $173 million for next fiscal year, under the state budget version passed last week by the Senate.

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Through March, a special fund created with the state gas-tax-hike law had a cash balance of nearly $824 million and racked up more than $26 million in investment earnings on surpluses since July 2017, records show.

The $823.8 million surplus in the “Infrastructure Maintenance Trust Fund” as of March 31 represented nearly 46% of the $1.79 billion in total collected revenues under the 2017 law, The Nerve found in a review of recently released S.C. Department of Transportation and state comptroller general records.

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S.C. senators want to spend nearly $108 million next fiscal year on dozens of pet projects by funneling the money through state agencies that typically didn’t request the public dollars.

More than half of the $107.9 million in labeled earmarks for fiscal year 2022, which starts July 1, would be spent collectively on a new Greenville convention center, renovations to the Columbia Convention Center and Sumter Opera House, and unspecified infrastructure projects in Spartanburg, according to an earmark list released under a new Senate rule requiring public disclosure.

The Nerve for years has reported about Senate and House earmarks – and the lack of transparency and public input on the spending requests.

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This law would outlaw abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected.

BOISE, Idaho -- Stanton Healthcare, based in Boise, has life-affirming Clinics in Idaho and affiliates across America and internationally. Stanton provides compassionate and professional women's healthcare along with holistic services to clients experiencing an unexpected pregnancy.

Stanton's medical staff, team and clients all testified before the Idaho Legislature in support of the Heartbeat legislation.

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Over the past three years, the S.C. Department of Transportation denied a total of nearly 2,300 pothole-damage claims filed by motorists statewide – more than half of all such requests received during the period, The Nerve found in a review of agency records.

Motorists collectively sought more than $4.8 million in 4,325 pothole-damage claims received by DOT from 2018 through last year, with listed settlements totaling $802,609, or 16.5% of the overall requested total, according to the records, obtained under the S.C. Freedom of Information Act.

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State lawmakers are continuing to push bills that would increase legislative delegations’ powers over local K-12 schools and other public agencies in their home counties.

Today, for example, the House Education and Public Works Committee, chaired by Rep. Rita Allison, R-Spartanburg, is scheduled to consider a Senate bill that would allow a legislative delegation – made up of senators and House members in a county – to control the appointment of an interim local school board if a popularly elected board is dissolved following an approved “state-of-education emergency.”

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Unlike panels overseeing other state agencies, the governing boards of the state-created Ports Authority and utility Santee Cooper are paid thousands of dollars annually for their part-time jobs, records show.

Most members of the Ports Authority Board of Directors made $11,700 last year, while members of the Santee Cooper Board of Directors received $10,384.20 in compensation and another $2,000 in a category labeled “travel, insurance and meeting reimbursement,” according to their annual income-disclosure reports, known as statements of economic interests (SEIs), filed with the State Ethics Commission.

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If there’s one power that S.C. senators likely will never relinquish – at least willingly – it’s their control over the selection of the state’s more than 300 county magistrates.

Magistrates, who handle traffic tickets and other relatively minor criminal and civil cases, know how much authority senators can exercise even after their judicial terms expire. Under a loophole in state law known as “holdover status,” magistrates can continue to serve indefinitely past their official terms – and feel more pressure to cater to their local senators.

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It'll be months before Major League Baseball knows how much its decision to move Atlanta's All-Star Game cost them financially. Fortunately, Americans won't have to wait nearly that long to understand how much it hurt the MLB politically. Thanks to Governor Doug Ducey (R-Ariz.), they already know. If the goal of MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred and his liberal pals was to scare other states into submission, Arizona's new law makes it quite clear: he's already failed.

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Claiming that many lawmakers had little or no notice of a $550 million taxpayer-backed bond plan for projects at the Port of Charleston, a senator has proposed expanding the Ports Authority governing board to include the heads of the state Commerce and Transportation departments.

Besides making Commerce secretary Bobby Hitt and DOT secretary Christy Hall voting members of the current nine-member Ports Authority Board of Directors, the bill, sponsored by Sen. Sandy Senn, R-Charleston, would allow the two agency heads to attend closed board sessions.

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Over the past four years as South Carolina’s governor, Henry McMaster received a total of more than $87,000 in gifts, The Nerve found in a review of his annual income-disclosure reports.

Of the $87,695 in freebies, $24,679, or 28%, came from the Washington, D.C.-based Republican Governors Association (RGA), mainly for flights, hotel accommodations and meals, according to McMaster’ annual statements of economic interests (SEIs) filed with the State Ethics Commission.

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In its latest annual report, the S.C. Department of Transportation claimed it patched about 679,300 potholes statewide during fiscal year 2020.

Based on those numbers, an average of 14,767 potholes were filled from July 1, 2019, through June 30, 2020, in each of the state’s 46 counties, though the annual report, provided by DOT head Christy Hall in January to state Senate president Harvey Peeler and House speaker Jay Lucas, didn’t provide any county breakdowns.

The Nerve previously has pointed out that DOT’s patched-pothole numbers are merely estimates.

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South Carolina State Senator Tom Corbin joins Glenn Beck to discuss his state’s “Unorganized Militia” bill, which smartly uses legislation to GUARANTEE the federal government cannot infringe on citizens’ 2nd Amendment rights there. The Biden administration may have gun control in their sights, but with this legislation, South Carolinians SHOULD remain untouched. Listen to this clip to find out how it works and to find out how YOU can encourage similar steps in your own local community.

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