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Democrats Unveil Statehouse Ethics Reforms

With focus on S.C. integrity issues, House Democrats polish off rebuke.

S.C. House Democrats rolled out a five-point ethics reform plan Tuesday to seize on ethical scandals and the state's recent "F" for a lack of political oversight and accountability.

"It is time for South Carolina to get serious about ethics reform," said Rep. Boyd Brown of Winnsboro. "Corruption is plaguing our great state and it's high time we do something about it."

The Statehouse is still putting the pieces back together after the , forcing musical chairs in the Senate that has left a Lowcountry seat . 

And highlighted shortcomings in the state's oversight process that enables abuses.  

Pointing to several reform bills introduced in the legislature, the Democrats said they were focusing on five key points:

  • Term Limits for all Members of the General Assembly.
  • Statewide Recall Bill.
  • Eliminating House and Senate Ethics Committees and give the authority to the State Ethics Commission.
  • Requiring Lobbyists to Report Tax Returns Online.
  • A Two-Year Ban on the Revolving Door for Legislators, Lobbyists, and Government Employees.

"Over the years I've seen Republicans slowly chip away at government accountability and transparency," said Rep. James Smith (D-Columbia). "It's time to stop saying one thing while doing another."

Rep. Leon Stavrinakis (D-Charleston) pointed to the recent announcement from Gov. Nikki Haley that her office would make it a policy to preserve emails between the governor and her staff. It was found last year that some emails requested through the Freedom of Information Act had been deleted.

"We have a Governor who decided to stop deleting official emails only after she got caught," said Rep. Stavrinakis. "That is even more reason why I am committed to bringing real ethics reform to this state."

What is your opinion on this plan? Let us know in the comments section below.

Cold War Vet March 21, 2012 at 08:17 PM
BTW, my comment is not one-sided. I'm talking about all the good old boys (and girls) from both parties.
stanley seigler March 21, 2012 at 08:48 PM
@Cold War Vet: "...We, the people, need to end the good old boy network..." and the pendulum may be swinging it that direction...just need to be careful of a swing similar to the 2010 teaparty swing...would love to see SC lead the swing...work for the common good NOT party (T,DEM,GOP, otherwise) good...
Cold War Vet March 21, 2012 at 08:51 PM
@Stanley - I agree with you whole-heartedly.
Richard Hayes March 29, 2012 at 07:08 PM
It is time for the State Legislature to do what's right, whether it is a Democrat or Republican sponsored bill. As citizens we should demand the State Legislature to pass this now.
Ms Rose Grant Davis April 25, 2012 at 03:01 PM
Hello Ken, Americans should stop allowing implications of a bully attitude to prevail...it is time that issues like these and others affecting all of us be brought to vote now not later. I believe that when we understand the importance of applying for a voter's registration certificate and using it to vote for individuals that believe in justice and equality for everyone then the bullying may subside… Rose Grant Davis, PhD Candidate

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