By Eric Ward | The Nerve
COLUMBIA, S.C. — A new state law prohibits local governments in South Carolina from using state funding to lobby, but it won’t necessarily run local government lobbyists out of the State House.
In fact, the new restriction definitely won’t drive lobbyists for cities and counties out of the Capitol — at least, not if a similar measure applying to state agencies and colleges is any indication.
That’s because in both cases, the laws restrict only the use of state general funds — not, when it comes to cities and counties with their locally generated tax dollars, and not, with colleges and their tuition revenue.
More than 20 cities or counties, plus at least three public education entities, had registered lobbyists during this year’s legislative session, according to State Ethics Commission records.
A few of the entities, such as Richland County First Steps and the city of Sumter, did not spend any money lobbying this session, records show.
But most of them did. The amounts — rounded to the nearest $100 — varied from $2,000 to more than $25,000, totaling upward of $200,000.