South Carolina's water supply is threatened by drought, overuse of water upstream by North Carolina and by growth and development in this state. The state Department of Natural Resources is attempting to protect one of the state's most valuable resources with recommendations regulating water use. It should be supported by the state Legislature.
Unfortunately, a number of exemptions from the permitting process are being sought as the legislation goes through the committee process. ...
It is hard to overstate the importance of gaining a favorable ruling from the Supreme Court on the water case, since much of what now supplies South Carolina initially flows through North Carolina. In the same manner, much of what is used in coastal South Carolina first flows through the Upstate and the midlands. ...
The Legislature should support regulations that ensure equitable distribution of water resources and require that conservation measures are applied in an evenhanded way. A fair regulatory system can help avert a crisis and protect a public resource for the future.
The best indication of South Carolina's dedication to the constitutional right to keep and bear arms is the law allowing qualified residents to carry concealed firearms upon the issuance of state licenses. But it is no violation of that right that the records pertaining to those licenses are open to the public. Open conceal-carry license records benefit the public safety.
We raise this question because the S.C. House has passed, and the S.C. Senate is considering, a bill that would close these license records, kept by the State Law Enforcement Division, to public inspection. S.C. Rep. Mike Pitts, R-Laurens, proposed the bill because a Virginia newspaper last year published a list of conceal-carry license holders in that state on its Web site.
Pitts isn't wrong to worry that access to gun-license records could cause problems. Here's a good solution to that problem, proposed by S.C. Sen. Brad Hutto, D-Orangeburg: Amend current law to allow SLED to ask people seeking access to gun records to explain themselves. Empower an independent panel to review SLED denials. That process would end the possibility of abuse of gun-license information.
Better that than cloaking gun records in a veil of secrecy.
Campaign phone calls
Several states are working to limit or ban the automated telephone calls voters get urging them to go to the polls or support a specific candidate.
These calls are every bit as disruptive as commercial telemarketing calls, but they are usually not affected by the same laws as business calls.
Several states are moving to limit robo-calls or ban them altogether. South Carolina should strengthen its rules. ...
Defenders of these calls claim they can't be banned because they represent free speech. The law can't limit a candidate's ability to spread his message, they say. But the Constitution does not give anyone a right to continually invade another citizen's home to insert speech into that home. Voters have a right to reserve the use of their telephones to their own purposes.