Opinions from around South Carolina: Leatherman, roads, ethics

June 22, 2014 

Hugh Leatherman

Others Say

Editorials from elsewhere

Hugh Leatherman

Just when you thought Sen. Hugh K. Leatherman’s resume couldn’t get any more impressive, along comes a new addition: president pro tempore of the South Carolina Senate.

This was the big development Wednesday in Columbia. It capped an extraordinary day not only for the Republican from Florence but also for the Pee Dee.

Sen. Yancey McGill, D-Williamsburg, also became the state’s new lieutenant governor. That was big.

But Leatherman’s ascension was bigger. …

Leatherman will serve as president pro tem for the rest of the year, but his chances of remaining in this position of power are great.

As the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Leatherman already was immensely powerful. But we scoff at any concerns that too much power is being consolidated in one individual.

Morning News

(Florence)

Highway system

The single biggest failure of the just-ended legislative session probably is that the General Assembly took no action on a stable, long-term revenue source for the maintenance and improvement of South Carolina’s highway system. …

One reason this failure was predictable is that this is an election year. After all, the most sensible way to provide funding for infrastructure maintenance or improvements is to increase some set of taxes or fees. Such a strategy would most logically begin with an increase to the state’s gasoline tax that has not been increased since 1987. Gov Nikki Haley, however, has vowed to veto any bill that increases the gas tax.

With the rabid anti-tax sentiment that reigns in this state, perpetuated by the governor’s threat, few lawmakers who also are interested in being re-elected were willing to vote in favor of generating revenue for roads. …

The Legislature’s lack of action is deplorable — especially given the sorry state of South Carolina’s roads that is clearly evident to any driver who recently has driven outside the state to either the north, west or south.

Greenville News

Ethics reform

Welcome to the South Carolina Senate, where reform goes to die.

For the second straight year, a bill to strengthen ethics rules and accountability for elected officials failed to get a final vote in the Senate as the clock ran out on the session. …

Certainly the ethics bill wasn't everything it should have been. For example, it failed to include independent review and adjudication of legislative ethics complaints. Under the bill, complaints would continue to be decided by the legislative ethics committees. …

The past 22 years have exposed weaknesses in the state ethics law, showing where improvements are needed. While the bill before the Senate was less than comprehensive, it would have made a difference. Too bad the Senate decided not to make a difference on ethics reform this year. Again.

Post and Courier

(Charleston)

Food for Thought

• “The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.”

Socrates

Inspiration

• “I rejoice at thy word, as one that findeth great spoil.”

Psalm 119:162

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