Tag: Ethics Reform

Reese Boyd Announces for Senate District 34

Local attorney Reese Boyd, III announced last week that he is a Republican candidate for SC Senate District 34 in the upcoming June primary.

“I believe the voters of District 34 deserve a conservative choice in this election,” said Boyd in his announcement speech. “I am that conservative choice and I ask for your support.”

A native of Conway, Boyd graduated from Davidson College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics and is a graduate of the University of South Carolina School of Law.

After earning his law degree, Boyd began his political education as an attorney on Gov. Carroll Campbell’s staff. Boyd was awarded the Order of the Palmetto by Campbell for his work.

When Campbell left office in January 1995, he was named Chairman of the American Council of Life Insurers in Washington, D.C. Campbell took Boyd with him as legal counsel.

“I got a close up look at working with the federal government in that job,” said Boyd.

In 1999, Boyd accepted a position as vice president and counsel to a large asset management, insurance and financial services firm in Boston.

“It was a great opportunity and I enjoyed Boston except for the winters,” said Boyd.

In 2001, Boyd decided to return to his native Horry County with a view toward seeking political office in the future.

“I had been interested in running for political office and I felt my opportunities were better at home than they were in Massachusetts,” he said. “I was also too thin-skinned for the cold weather in Boston.”

After returning to Horry County, Boyd entered private practice. He is currently a partner in Davis Boyd, LLC. The main focus if his practice is general civil litigation while also handling business formations and corporate legal matters, estate planning, as well as aviation law and consulting.

Boyd currently lives in Murrells Inlet, South Carolina, with his wife Lee and their two children. He is active in community and volunteer activities, and is an Elder of Surfside Presbyterian Church, PCA, where he serves as Clerk of the Church Session.

Déjà vu for SC General Assembly

In November 2014, when everyone was talking about the upcoming SC General Assembly legislative session, three big topics were at the fore, ethics reform, transportation maintenance and repair funding and education funding.

One year later, as preparations are made for the second session of the 121st General Assembly, those three topics are still waiting to be addressed.

Real ethics reform falls into three areas – disclosure of all sources of income for members and their immediate families, disclosure of donor sources in these currently anonymous PACs and an independent process for ethics violation investigations.

Under our current ethics system, the House and Senate have ethics committees that essentially do nothing, and the SC Ethics Commission, which covers all other public officials throughout the state, specializes in collecting fines for late filing of disclosure documents.

All three areas have strong resistance, especially in the Senate, so expect another year where ethics is talked about much and accomplished not at all.

In the area of transportation maintenance and repair or general infrastructure funding, one lesson should have been learned with the floods of October – you can only ignore maintenance and repair of necessary infrastructure for so long.

When old, neglected infrastructure is hit with unusual conditions, it will fail. Some of the flood damage we saw would have happened anyway, but dams failing, bridges collapsing and roads washing out were as much a consequence of neglect as it was from the storm.

School funding, or rather equitable funding for poor, rural school districts is a subject that has been effectively dodged in one way or another since the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision of 1954.

Bureaucracy to prevail at expense of the taxpayer

Last Regular Week for SC General Assembly

The SC General Assembly meets today to begin its last regular week of this legislative year.

To say this year has been a disappointment in real legislation is an understatement. In fact, this year will be known by what wasn’t accomplished rather than by what was.

An attempt to pass an ethics reform bill hung up on the shoals of the SC Senate. Seems our senators are determined to keep ethics oversight within the Senate Ethics Committee. No independent investigations of conduct of senators are allowed unless the Senate okays it (read Robert Ford).

Three Weeks Left for Do-Nothing SC General Assembly

Three weeks remain in this year’s SC General Assembly legislative session.

It would be nice to think SC lawmakers would actually accomplish something useful before the year is done.

But, that is wishing too much from our current crop of do-nothing legislators in Columbia.

Ethics Reform – Not So Fast

S.C. House Ethics Reform Bill Discourages Ethics Complaints

An Ethics Reform Bill, which flew through the S.C. House with only one dissenting vote in three readings, appears designed to discourage the filing of ethics complaints.

H. 3184 could put citizens at substantial risk, possibly facing both criminal and civil charges, depending on the whim of a newly constituted State Ethics Commission.

Called the Ethics Reform Act, the devil is again in the details of the legislation. The bill creates a new State Ethics Commission and ultimately grants investigation of ethics complaints against House or Senate members to that new body.

Ethics Reform – Not So Fast

S.C. Senate Effectively Kills Ethics Reform

Ethics reform took a big hit in the S.C. Senate last week when senators voted to essentially keep ethics investigations in-house.

A bill (S.1) that would have allowed investigations of ethics complaints against members of the S.C. General Assembly to be investigated by a reconstituted S.C. Ethics Commission failed to get enough support to move forward.

Sen. Luke Rankin, Chairman of the Senate Ethics Committee, offered an amendment that would have established a panel consisting of a majority of legislators and a few members of the public (for window dressing) instead of the independent panel advocated in the bill’s original language.

After a long debate, senators voted down the ethics reform bill authored by Sen. Larry Martin, R-Pickens. In a touch of irony, Martin voted against his much changed bill in the final vote.

Ethics Reform – Not So Fast

Ethics Reform Obstacles in S.C. House

It looks like ethics reform during the upcoming session of the S.C. General Assembly will go down the same black hole as the last couple of years’ efforts.

The main reason being South Carolina legislators really don’t want to reform themselves.

During a meeting of the House Ethics and Freedom of Information Study Committee last week, the mentality of what seems to be the majority of legislators came to the fore.

What seemed a ‘no brainer’ provision of possible ethics reform, eliminating the use of campaign funds for legal defense funds against ethics complaints, appears to run counter to a majority of the committee’s wishes.

Ethics Reform – Not So Fast

Ethics Reform House Committee Meets Monday

A specially appointed S.C. House Ethics and the Freedom of Information Act Study Committee met again Monday to continue discussion of ethics reform.

Two areas of concentration on the agenda are campaign finance reform and independent investigation of ethics complaints.

Limiting mileage and travel reimbursement and prohibition against immediate family members being hired by a campaign were discussed along with a prohibition against using campaign funds to pay fines, fees or other charges imposed by the ethics commission, ethics committee or criminal court.

Bureaucracy to prevail at expense of the taxpayer

Prefiled S.C. Senate Bills

Ethics reform and a gas tax increase head the bills prefiled in the S.C. Senate December 3rd.

Sen. Larry Martin is again attempting to end the practice of the S.C. House Ethics Committee and the S.C. Senate Ethics Committee from policing members of their own bodies and meeting in secret. Martin is proposing revamping the State Ethics Commission so it will have first look at ethics complaints against state legislators before those complaints go to the House or Senate ethics committees.

Martin’s bill would also require candidates and public officials to disclose more details about their incomes; bring political groups back into the reporting fold for revenue and expenses and tighten laws on how campaign funds may be spent.

More Freedom of Information in South Carolina?

A S.C. House Ethics and Freedom of Information Act Study Committee will recommend legislation that could make government information more open to request.

The committee is proposing to put a time limit on the production of public documents of between 30-35 days after an FOIA request is agreed to.

However, like everything regarding public information in South Carolina, there is a hitch. After two free hours of work on producing the documents, a public agency would be able to charge the citizen requesting the documents up to $100 per hour for the time needed to fulfill the FOIA request.