SC Policy Council 2015 Legislative Review – “Best” & “Worst”

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The 2015 legislative session was not a productive one. Indeed, it was even less productive than the unproductive sessions of the previous four or five years.

As usual, there was much talk of “ethics reform” at the outset, and many vows to “do something” about South Carolina’s deteriorating roads and bridges, but in the end lawmakers couldn’t even pass a weak ethics bill, and various “roads plans” died because they weren’t roads plans at all – they were tax hikes.

But the bills lawmakers tried and failed to pass weren’t just weak; they were actually destructive. These measures would have infringed on constitutional rights, given government agents power to bully citizens into silence, and given agencies further powers to raise taxes and fees. Apart from a few low-priority bills and the usual empty gestures (resolutions memorializing Congress, congratulating local sports teams and beauty queens, declaring certain days in honor of certain counties, etc., etc.), the legislature almost totally neglected its duties to protect citizens and limit governmental power.

So – not a lot of good news came out of the 2015 legislative session.

Even so, a number of excellent bills were filed, and some even received debate and media attention. Two thousand fifteen was the first year of a two-year session, so all these bills – the good, the bad, and the deplorable – are still “alive” and may well be debated in 2016.

But which bills would and wouldn’t make a positive difference in your life or the life of your neighbors? Which ones would and wouldn’t expand and protect your personal and economic freedoms? Answering those questions is what The Best and Worst of the General Assembly is for, and I hope it helps you negotiate the dizzying array of legislation introduced in 2015 and potentially debated in 2016.

This annual guide to state legislation is the only publication of its kind. No other source, online or print, examines all the year’s major legislation; and no other source analyzes so many bills with special attention on how those bills affect your freedoms.

As in past years, we’ve labeled each bill as among the “best” or the “worst.” We’ve briefly described what each bill is intended to do (and what it would actually do) and explained whether it’s a step toward liberty or away from it. Along the way, we’ve included a few stories about what really happened inside the legislature.

I hope you find it instructive and useful. And I hope –as I know you do – that next year’s session will be better for the cause of freedom.

E. Ashley Landess

Click here to read the “Best & Worst” of the South Carolina 2015 legislative proposals and the status of each one.

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