The (Columbia) State on government restructuring bill, May 28:

Imagine what could happen if South Carolina had a Legislature that was able to act like a legislature and a governor who was allowed to act like a governor.

Lawmakers would know much more about how state agencies operate, so they could make better laws and better decisions about which programs are working well and should be funded, which ones aren't working at all or are inefficient and need to be eliminated or fixed.

The governor would have the power to make sure those agencies do the job they're supposed to, and the incentive to do so — the knowledge that if things don't work, the voters will blame him and him alone.

A bill awaiting Senate debate would move us in that direction — taking a big step on the first count and another baby step on the second.

The legislation is built around the notion Sen. Vincent Sheheen has been pushing that government restructuring doesn't have to be a zero-sum game, where the governor becomes more powerful, making the Legislature less powerful by comparison.

... This bill doesn't upset the balance of power — the Legislature will still be the dominant political force in this state if it passes. What it does is make our government a little more responsive to the public, and a little more efficient, and probably even a little more competent. And we certainly need that.


The (Myrtle Beach) Sun News on immigration reform, May 27:

On no issue are South Carolinians more insistent on legislative action than immigration reform. Residents want the General Assembly to plug the federal immigration policy gaps that allow thousands of undocumented persons to live and work in the state.

Legislators have tried to satisfy the public demand for action but thus far are stalemated on how, exactly, to do so. Senators and representatives will make one last attempt to agree on legislation that not only makes South Carolina less hospitable to undocumented foreign workers but is also enforceable long term.

The key to the "less hospitable" challenge lies with South Carolina employers who use foreign labor — not only landscapers, hoteliers and restaurateurs but also farmers and business people who have occasional need of day labor. Thanks to lax enforcement of federal immigration rules, employers so inclined can circumvent the law. And illegal workers so inclined can make it look as though they're in the United States legally when in fact they're not.

So most representatives and senators rightly want to motivate South Carolina employers to move beyond minimum federal worker verification compliance to use the online E-Verify system or to hire only workers who have valid South Carolina driver's licenses. ...

The hope must be that the House and the governor sign on to that goal, too. Otherwise, all the political tough talk on cracking down on illegal immigrants could amount to so much blather. No bill at all would be better than a bill that can't work.


The (Charleston) Post and Courier on Spoleto, May 24:

Family reunions are a time for reminiscing and Friday's opening of the 2008 Spoleto Festival USA was no exception. For those who witnessed the birth of the American festival, the scene was reassuringly familiar. The mayor of Spoleto, Italy, was back on the stage as a member of the family as was his predecessor on that first opening day 32 years ago, and, once again, there was a palpable feeling of excitement in the air.

For the first time in 15 years, the relationship between Spoleto, Italy's Festival of Two Worlds and the Charleston festival, both founded by the late composer Gian Carlo Menotti, has been renewed. The unhappy split was forced by Mr. Menotti and long regretted by Italian officials who were working behind the scenes to repair the relationship even before the founder's death more than a year ago. ...

For the first time since the opening day ceremonies moved to City Hall, the festival bowed to environmental concerns and ended Friday's opening day ceremonies with a flutter of confetti rather than the traditional balloon drop. But no one who saw the spectacular Chinese acrobats from "Monkey Journey to the West" could have walked away with anything less than high expectations for the days ahead.


(Spartanburg) Herald Journal on DUI bill, May 28:

South Carolina House lawmakers took another step last week in cracking down on repeat drunken drivers. Hopefully it's a sign that lawmakers do not feel their work is done with regard to the state's handling of these offenders.

The House recently passed a bill requiring anyone convicted of second-offense driving under the influence to install an ignition interlock device on his or her vehicle. ...

An ignition lock uses an alcohol detection device. The lock prevents the car from starting until the driver blows into a sensor unit, and if the unit detects an alcohol level above the legal limit, the driver cannot start the car.

It's certainly not fail-safe — the determined drunken driver could start his car with the aid of a sober accomplice. But it's a worthwhile attempt to keep habitual drunken drivers from creating more peril on our highways. ...

While they have been improved, hopefully our state's DUI laws remain a work in progress. And the House bill calling for ignition lock devices is another step in the right direction.