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Columns

  • Column: Another example of how legislature hangs onto power

    It’s the week before Christmas and the last thing on anyone’s mind is a state board whose acronym sounds like something an over-the-counter pill wouldn’t fix. But the STIB, which met a few days ago, should have made headlines.
    The State Transportation Infrastructure Bank’s mission is “to focus greater attention on larger transportation projects, and thereby allow (the state Department of Transportation) to devote resources to other important transportation projects.”

  • Column: Merrill indictment spotlights systemic problems

    A year or so ago, I was driving around Charleston with a member of the S.C. General Assembly, talking about various people, problems and politics in the State House. My friend is a long-time legislator and one of the most decent and honorable public servants I know.
    As we topped the Ravenel Bridge, I asked him, “Is Jim Merrill a crook?” After a long pause, he said, “That is a question of law that must be determined by the courts…. But he is extremely bold.”

  • Column: New GOP chair invites citizens to get involved

    It is with great pleasure that I write to you as the new chairman of the Lancaster County Republican Party.
    Our outgoing chair, Brandon Newton, did an excellent job leading the Lancaster GOP to record heights in the 2016 elections, and I look forward to him representing our county in the S.C. House.
    As chairman, I will continue the good work of the Republican Party in working for a better Lancaster County. But if we want this country, state and county to thrive, we must all get involved, become educated and take action.

  • Column: Chamber’s missive to North Pole

    Dear Santa,
    It’s been a great year here in Lancaster. We sure do like the new leaders you gave us in 2016. Susan DeVenny, Jamie Gilbert and Flip Hutfles are already doing great things and having a positive impact on our community.
    We miss our late Mayor Joe Shaw, but Mayor John Howard loves our city and is committed to doing everything he can to make Lancaster better.

  • Column: 2014 reform failed to shift control from lawmakers

    In early 2014, Gov. Nikki Haley signed into law a bill that was supposed to reform state government. It created the Department of Administration and moved the Budget and Control Board’s functions under the governor’s control.
    The bill was widely hailed as historic, and the governor signed it with much fanfare. Yet nearly three years later, somehow it has been almost completely forgotten.
    Why? Perhaps because the bill changed so little.

  • Column: A child needs you: Volunteer for Guardian ad Litem work

    The holidays are upon us. Do you have a “wish list?” If so, what’s on your list? New clothes? Jewelry? Maybe the latest smartphone?
    What if your wish was not for material things? What if your wish was to be able to have a home where you are loved and protected? What if your wish was to see your brothers and sisters and play together again?
    These are the wishes of many S.C. children living in foster care. Fortunately, you can help make their wishes come true by volunteering for the Cass Elias McCarter Guardian ad Litem (GAL) Program.

  • Column: Emanuel 9 families show love tops hate

    Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) sent this in response to Thursday’s conviction of Dylann Roof in the Emanuel 9 hate crimes trial in Charleston.

    While today’s verdict will not bring back those lost, it does ensure that the families of those murdered and injured at Mother Emanuel will see justice come to the evil man who perpetrated this heinous crime.
    I know it was not easy for them to testify and to sit and watch as photos and evidence from June 17, 2015, were shown in court.

  • Column: S.C. must pick a strategic destination

    Over the last week or so, the same basic story has appeared in all the major newspapers around the state: economists have projected that we as a state (i.e. the legislature) will have an additional $446 million to spend over the next fiscal year.
    It’s good news that we will have this money to address some serious needs in our state. It’s bad news that the state agencies have lined up to ask for $1.9 billion in new spending.
    We have $446 million more. They want $1.9 billion more.

  • Column: Luke’s gospel records 2 songs of Christmas

    Luke's account of Jesus' birth records two songs spoken by two different women at their meeting in the hill country of Judea.

    The first song was spoken by Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist. When Mary, the mother of Jesus, visited Zacharias and Elizabeth at their home, John leaped for joy in his mother's womb at Mary's words of greeting.

  • Column: Did anybody even read the constitutional amendment?

    The constitutional conundrum that South Carolina will face if Nikki Haley is confirmed as United Nations ambassador is evidence of at least one thing: Our legislators take a casual approach to the rule of law.
    How did we get to this point? The  amendment to the state constitution that voters approved in 2012 specified that it would take effect in 2018. But when the bill to ratify the amendment was filed in the Senate in 2013, it left out a key portion – which changed the effective date. Here is what happened: