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Columns

  • Prisoner changes course of American legal history

    “In our adversary system of criminal justice, any person haled into court, who is too poor to hire a lawyer, could not be assured a fair trial, unless counsel is provided for him. This seems to us to be an obvious truth.” – Justice Hugo Black, March 18, 1963, in the U.S. Supreme Court case of Gideon vs. Wainwright.
    This year, we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Gideon case. This decision set in motion the greatest transformation to the American criminal justice system in history.

  • Make homes adaptable for seniors

    It’s no secret that the majority of us will need some kind of assistance as we age. Imagine returning home from the hospital for recovery after being treated for a stroke. With limited mobility, you may find that the world you have become so accustomed to over the years now has many new obstacles to overcome.

  • Public notices – information citizens should know about

    Transparency in government is getting a big push these days as South Carolina citizens demand improved access to public meetings and documents.
    Both houses of the Legislature are studying reform and the Governor’s Commission on Ethics Reform has issued recommendations on ethics and openness.
    However, one important area of open government is often forgotten, and that is public notices.

  • Support Rep. Taylor’s FOI reform bill now in Legislature

    The FOI reform bill now working its way through the state legislative process is a good bill that would give citizens faster and more affordable access to public information.
    Spearheaded by Rep. Bill Taylor, R-Aiken, the bill would prevent agencies from charging fees that exceed actual copying costs or exceed the local prevailing rate.
    The fee schedules would have to be posted online and charges for document searches could not exceed the prorated hourly salary of the lowest paid employee with skills and training to perform the request.

  • Consumers can squelch credit card swipe fees

    After taxpayers were forced to spend billions bailing out Wall Street a few years ago, it’s easy to understand why consumers have little tolerance for new fees from banks their hard-earned money rescued.
    It certainly helps explain why many states, including South Carolina, have moved to pass laws against businesses charging their customers credit card transaction fees.
    Credit card transaction fees have existed for years. But until recently, MasterCard and Visa did not permit businesses to pass along these fees to consumers.

  • Republicans working for a safer Lancaster

    In our January column, we talked about the need to prioritize public safety in Lancaster County. Recent events remind us there is still more to be done and Lancaster Republicans are working to make positive contributions toward supporting those who work to keep our county’s communities and neighborhoods safer.

  • Gun-ban effort infringes on our right to bear arms

    Where does a gun come from? Who makes a gun? How does a gun work? Who invented a gun? Is a gun dangerous? How does a gun hurt or kill a person? What is a weapon?
    These high-profile questions have taken the spotlight lately, given the rash of recent shooting tragedies. Politicians are using the tragedies to vilify people who believe in the right to bear arms.
    TV, newspapers and other media align themselves with the government in an effort to ban guns.

  • Resurrect B3 proposal

    Changes to the B3 commercial zoning classification are back on the table and many people are saying that the B3 proposal made by the ad hoc B3 Committee last spring should be brought back and adopted.
    Unfortunately, many of the players have changed, and each of the new players has a different idea about how the proposal should be adapted to put a new stamp on it. The situation is thus degenerating into the same kind of argument that has characterized this issue for at least four years.

  • South Carolina needs stronger Freedom of Information Act

    It’s probably fair to say that a lot of people in our society feel a healthy dose of skepticism toward many politicians.
    It’s not unreasonable to feel that way, either.
    After all, if you read the paper or watch the news, it’s not very hard to find reasons to raise your eyebrows, or even your voice, over decisions they make about spending your money.

  • S.C. salaries should be based on responsibilities

    In South Carolina, the number of state employees is established in relation to the state’s population. In 1994, the state’s population was about 3.7 million and the state appropriated funding for about 42,000 full-time employment (FTE) positions, nearly 95 percent of the annual limitation.