Palmetto Promise Freedom Agenda Advances in 2021
We sounded the alarm to safeguard donor privacy and voting integrity!
- Thankfully, we were able to beat back the terrible bill that would have taken away the privacy (and free speech) of donors to give to non-candidate political and policy issue efforts.
- Palmetto Promise Institute got involved in the election reform issue later in the year, but our research featuring the Top 20 Election Reforms Needed Now reframed the conversation immediately when it arrived. Our Top 20 list has been endorsed by all key conservative players working the issue in the state and nationally and is focused on the critical issues of absentee ballot security, voter roll integrity, polling place standards, legal reforms, and statutory reforms.
NEXT UP: Multiple bills filed to address our 20 reforms are picking up steam and are expected to move early in 2022: critical action ahead of the June ’22 primary elections.
WORK, JUSTICE & QUALITY OF LIFE
We worked to fight frivolous torts and expand the right to make a living!
- Thankfully, the impact of COVID’s “Great Suppression” has been less felt in South Carolina because we quickly reopened in 2020. But it is still essential to get people back to work by eliminating or lowering government hurdles to employment. We really loved the mobile barbershops win in particular: a bi-partisan victory for common sense.
- Protecting businesses from frivolous COVID liability lawsuits.
NEXT UP: Look for movement on critical legislation to reduce or eliminate unnecessary occupational licensing requirements that stifle entrepreneurship and innovation.
We demanded Constitutionalist judges!
- Our report, “Judging the Judges” offered strong suggestions and helped guide new energy around how judicial elections can better reflect a judicial philosophy in keeping with the conservative values of our state. The Republican Caucus finally showed discipline in judicial selection in several instances, but there is much more to do!
NEXT UP: With a South Carolina Supreme Court seat (and many other judgeships) up for grabs, the General Assembly must double down on reforms to the judicial selection process. One place to start: advancing all qualified candidates (instead of “the fix-is-in few”) in a judicial race.
We fought to put consumers—not monopolies—in the driver’s seat!
- Success in the field of energy was less than stellar, with the South Carolina Senate all but ending any further interest in taking new bids for Santee Cooper, our debt-ridden state-owned energy utility, the only true “business approach” to the V.C. Summer nuclear debacle. We fought to the end, and a bill passed to “reform” and perhaps eventually sell…but unfortunately, not to sell immediately.
NEXT UP: With regulators indicating more awareness of the flaws of South Carolina’s energy monopolies, you can bet we’ll have a lot more to say about how the power of energy competition can benefit South Carolina ratepayers!
We pushed to make red-tape slashing pandemic policies permanent!
- Opening up the scope of medical practices allows medical professionals to work at the top of their training and helps respond to the shortage of healthcare providers, especially in South Carolina’s rural communities. This year, we made progress on people allowed to dispense medications in state institutions, temporary licensure in certain professions, and expansion of scope of practice for advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) and podiatrists.
- This year also saw the cutting of red tape that prevents efficient delivery of care for patients, such as direct delivery of medications and extending the terms for prescriptions without needing a new order.
NEXT UP: All eyes will be on the Senate in January as free-market champions, powered by PPI research, take the Floor to eliminate South Carolina’s antiquated, anti-competitive Certificate of Need (CON) laws that restrict health care supply in communities that need it most.
We stood with parents to open classrooms and grow school choice!
- We were thrilled to partner with U.S. Senator Tim Scott to launch The Artis Ware Center for Education Opportunity honoring his grandfather’s legacy.
- A seven-year legislative battle finally ends with a win, requiring state universities to teach the Founding documents of our nation.
- Consolidating tiny and shrinking school districts in Clarendon, Barnwell and Bamberg Counties (the latter two have passed only the Senate so far), which PPI called for in our 2017 report entitled Stronger Together.
- Assisting public charter schools with needed funds due to booming enrollment.
- Allowing for multiple Schools of Innovation to expand in any given district.
- Requiring a return to in-person learning.
- Extending pandemic related flexibility for homeschool students wishing to play public school sports without losing a year of eligibility.
NEXT UP: School choice is sweeping the nation. The race is on to see whether the South Carolina House or Senate will be the first to stand with parents by passing Education Scholarship Accounts (ESAs): it’s time to “get it through in ’22”! School finance reform (including fair funding for charter school students) is also gaining long-overdue traction. It should be an exciting year for students!
TAX & BUDGET FREEDOM
We advocated to lower taxes and keep our state living within its means!
- Helping taxpayers by allowing taxpayers to recoup attorney fees when prevailing against the Department of Revenue, as well as code fixes to reduce tax liability for LLCs and S-Corps.
- Encouraging better government budget practices like allowing the state to pay for performance and correcting problems with the state Public Employee Benefit Authority.
NEXT UP: North Carolina’s aggressive tax-lowering moves have finally spurred the introduction of two significant tax reform bills in the Senate. South Carolina’s economic competitiveness is on the line: will the House get back in the game on this longstanding PPI priority? Stay tuned!