South Carolina editorial review | State


Recent editorials in South Carolina newspapers:

April 26th

The Charleston post and courier on environmental proposals approved by the South Carolina Senate:

The South Carolina senators made a strong statement in support of the environment with their votes to make it difficult for companies to start oil exploration projects off our coasts and allow local governments to continue to approve and enforce bans on plastic bags.

Both votes were encouraging for our entire state but particularly for the coast, where President Donald Trump's plan to allow seismic testing (now pending but not abandoned) threatens marine creatures and tourism, and where local efforts to protect wildlife from fragile plastic bags are under attack by the packaging industry.

Although we do not know where the Assembly is, the 40-4 Senate's crushing vote prohibits state agencies and local governments from authorizing any plant to be used in oil exploration or drilling at the slightest signal that the Legislature will not pass before the House law that prohibits state agencies and local governments from doing anything to "discourage, prohibit or otherwise prevent" the exploration and drilling of oil and gas.

And the vote on plastic bags strongly suggests that the Legislature will not be able to cancel the anti-plastic ordinances in the counties of Charleston and Beaufort and in several coastal communities, or to prohibit more communities from promoting them.

This is excellent news for all the sea creatures that would have been endangered by seismic tests and are already facing a slow and painful death from hunger due to accidental ingestion of plastic bags. This is also good news for our $ 23 billion tourism sector in the year, which would be jeopardized due to oil spills and is certainly not helped by the unpleasant waste that plastic bags help to make.

But the way the Senate has chosen to do all this is not ideal.

Oh, it was absolutely right that the Senate refused (with a strong vote of 27-15) to add the ban on bans on plastic bags to the state budget, not only because it is a bad idea, but also because political issues like this do not they do t need to be added to the state budget. But while the exploratory arrangement is for many technical reasons much less worrying, it remains an issue that should be considered in a separate bill.

We realize that this sounds rather astonishing, especially since neither the approved nor the budget-rejected reserve surpasses the red line that marks the irresponsibility of the law and violates the constitution of the state. But taking a law that legislators want to pass as an autonomous law and insert it into the short-circuit budget is a process that is designed to prevent the Legislature from accidentally making irresponsible or little-known decisions, or passing laws without sufficient public contribution.

Budget forecasts should tell state agencies how to spend the money that is allocated in the budget, and from a technical point of view, the drilling reserve is impeccable: it says that the DHEC cannot use any state funding to "approve a plan, allow , license application or other authorization "for any pipelines, tanks or other infrastructures that may be needed by drilling companies.

But the language of spending is the pretext to create a very intelligent policy that has little to do with the way DHEC spends state funds and a lot to do with what we allow businesses to do on our coast. It really needs to be approved as a separate law, and not just because this reserve lasts only a year.

Regardless of whether the House is in agreement or not, the Senate should approve a separate law that prohibits exploration and drilling off our coasts, which should be easy to do, given the support almost unanimous of the reserve. And then the Assembly must approve it. We must protect our coast, but we must do it permanently, not just for a year.

April 24:

Greenwood's Index-Journal proposed $ 50 reductions for some South Carolina income taxpayers:

What a crock. And with it, you can buy yourself a pair of Crocs, but then?

Of course, we are referring to the decision of state legislators to reimburse taxpayers of around $ 50 each with an unexpected sum of $ 61 million resulting from the Mega-Millions jackpot.

Taxing and spending is no longer our motto that belongs to most taxpayers throughout the state of Palmetto, and we appreciate those opportunities – rare as they could be – when lawmakers seem to be frugal with our money. This is not one of those times, however, especially in light of the fact that it will cost the state nearly three quarters of a million dollars to send each taxpayer $ 50.

Surely something more important and meaningful could be done with that money. Not all legislators are in agreement with the proposal. A couple of coastal Republican lawmakers are in agreement, although I do not agree on the best way to spend the good. Charleston Sen. Sandy Senn thought that waste control would be a good option, while Senator Greg Hembree of Horry County suggested that the gain was used to support the state's underfinanced pension system.

What is done is done and the repayment seems nothing more than a way to try to placate the voters. Er, tax payers.

In the meantime, how about this idea: the legislators, get a firm grip on the budget, what can and cannot be foreseen, and outline the priorities also in anticipation of unforeseen events such as that deriving from the sale of a winning lottery ticket.

Come to think of it, lottery dollars shouldn't help finance educational efforts? Or is the state of public schools in our state okay?


April 14th

The Spartanburg Herald-Journal on Protecting the Profitability of Local Press Organizations:

C & # 39; s strength in numbers. And through this medium, local press organizations hope to get stronger and much needed financial support.

On April 3, the United States David Cicilline, DR.I., and Doug Collins, R-Ga., Introduced the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act, designed to allow local news providers to collectively negotiate with digital giants Google and Facebook , among others . Cicilline is chairman of the House Antitrust subcommittee and Collins is a member of the Chamber's judiciary committee.

The legislation, if approved, would grant these news providers a safe temporary port from the antitrust laws for 48 months. During that time, the bill would allow them to legally bond together for greater negotiating strength in dealing with digital platforms.

Why is this important? As the technology has progressed over time, local press organizations have suffered, and many of their readers have turned to the Internet rather than the printed news page. The result was cut personnel and other cuts, as previous revenue streams were reduced.

The industry has adapted and is embracing the digital age, but it needs a more homogeneous playing field in order to preserve a sustainable financial base.

This is where Google and Facebook come into play. Cicilline states on its website that in 2017, according to the Pew Research Center, the majority of Americans have regular access to their news through these two platforms. Note the word "access". Google News and Facebook news feeds do not create the work product of local, state and national news on its feeds: it shares the work of local news agencies throughout the country. And in doing so, the two platforms have grossed over $ 60 billion last year in online advertising revenue, according to Cicilline.

Meanwhile, many local news providers – who created the product work on those feeds – are struggling. They receive little or no compensation from Google and Facebook for their shared work and little, if any, they say how and where it is shared. And, acting individually, they don't have much influence to improve their situation.

Collectively, however, can allow them to negotiate more profitable deals with online giants, and in doing so help preserve their very existence. This is the intent behind the law on competition and conservation of journalism.

Why should you be interested? Because local news providers play such an instrumental role in their communities that it goes far beyond the big and shocking stories. They keep you informed about the events of school councils and municipal and provincial councils. They keep you updated on the tax measures proposed, on referendums on obligations, on economic development, etc. And they keep a check on the actions of local authorities.

They are, in essence, watchdogs for their communities. And through their existence, we all benefit as members of those communities.

Congress should approve the Law on Competition and Preservation of Journalism. It will help the feasibility of local press organizations and preserve your source of important local news and information for your community.


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