South Carolina

Voter ID: The Landscape for 2009

As we noted in the Dispatch a couple weeks ago, despite a dearth of recent successes and mounting fiscal crises in most states, rightwing voter ID legislation designed to suppress voter turnout continues to be pressed around the country.  So far this year at least 17 states have seen bills introduced to institute or enhance ID requirements for voting or registration (AL, CO, GA, IN, MD, MN, MS, MO, NY, OK, RI, SC, TN, TX, UT, VA, WY).  It appears we now know enough to predict the landscape of the voter ID battles in this legislative session.

House Passes SCHIP Reform, but States Still Need Help on Insuring ALL Kids

Last night, the US House of Representatives passed H.R. 2, an expansion of SCHIP, a federal program that provides medical insurance to lower income children, across strong bipartisan lines (289-139) with forty Republicans voting in favor of the bill. SCHIP currently covers 6.7 million kids and expansion will allow an additional 4 million.

Making College Affordable for All

The benefits of a post-secondary degree are plentiful.  For example, an employee with a four year college degree earns 60 percent more than a worker with only a high school diploma. Paying for college, however, has become a daunting task and strain for many American students and families.  The cost of higher education across the country is rapidly increasing, at almost double the rate of inflation, outpacing increases in financial aid and many families ability to pay.  The combination of these factors result in too many students being unable to earn or complete their degrees due to financial constraints.

2008 Session Roundups: South Carolina

South Carolina's legislative session was marked by a failure to pass major pieces of legislation such as healthcare and payday-lending reforms, the passage of a regressive immigration bill, and significant time spent on small, controversial measures such as posting the ten commandments in public buildings, “I Believe”? license plates, and outlawing pants worn below the hips.  Fixing budget deficits and hiring much needed additional judges were two other important issues that could not get resolved while less consequential legislation was debated.  In the end, lawmakers showed how important those small measures were by overriding vetoes of bills like S 577, which increased penalties for attacking a coach in a sports league.