The Palmetto Insider

The blog of the South Carolina Policy Council

General Assembly Reaches Bottom of Slippery Slope

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If you’ve been keeping up with our new research on legislative control in South Carolina, you are well aware the General Assembly is attempting to direct the state’s economy by means of numerous boards and regulations, as well as by distributing billions of dollars in economic incentives and tax breaks to special interests. Consider:

  • The Legislature exercises extensive control over the state’s government and economy by means of 250-plus boards and commissions that regulate nearly every activity in the state.
  • The Legislature makes more than 420 appointments to executive branch boards and commissions – more than half as many as the governor makes.
  • The Speaker of the House and the Senate President Pro Tempore, combined, make more than 120 appointments to executive branch boards and commissions – 15 percent as many as the governor himself.

Two bills introduced in 2010 give a glimpse of how the legislative leadership controls and regulates the state’s economy by means of various licensing boards.

H 4235 would license and regulate talent agencies and create the South Carolina Board of Talent Agencies and Talent Agents to enforce these regulations. The new board would be made up of five members: two appointed by the Speaker of the House; two by the President Pro Tempore of the Senate; and one by the governor.

H 4624 would require musical therapists to be licensed and subject to oversight by the South Carolina Board of Music Therapy. The new board would be composed of five members: two appointed by the Speaker of the House; two by the President Pro Tempore of the Senate; and one by the governor.

First question: Do we really need the state to regulate talent agencies or musical therapists? This is not to marginalize these activities or to suggest that dishonest talent agents, for instance, can’t do a lot of harm. But is the state the best one to regulate these activities – and collect fees on them in the process? Or should instances of harm and abuse be addressed through tort law? And, if so, can the General Assembly instead do anything to facilitate the handling of such claims?

Second question: Do you think the General Assembly’s power is out of check? I mean, really … legislators don’t trust the governor to appoint boards related to talent agents and musical therapists?

Even if legislators stopped at wanting to control half of the appointments on every board and commission, we could speak of an imbalance of power between the legislative and executive branches. But to seek control over virtually all appointments to even such minor boards as these vividly illustrates that the Legislature really does think it is solely responsible for running South Carolina.

We could speak of a slippery slope … but clearly we’re already at the bottom.

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Written by Jameson Taylor

November 17, 2010 at 2:29 pm

Posted in Economic Development

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