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Constitutional

Constitutional – FOIA – First Amendment – Freedoms of Speech & Association – Non-Profit Corporation – Public Funds (access required)

Disabato v. South Carolina Association of School Administrators If a fact inquiry reveals that defendant is a public body subject to the Freedom of Information Act because it receives public funds en masse, then application of the FOIA to defendant does not burden defendant’s First Amendment rights of speech and association substantially more than necessary to serve the important state interests furthered by the FOIA.

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Constitutional – Dual Office-Holding – Ex Officio Exception — Separation of Powers — Transportation Infrastructure Bank – Legislator Members (access required)

South Carolina Public Interest Foundation v. South Carolina Transportation Infrastructure Bank Since the respondent Transportation Infrastructure Bank’s board of directors has the power to “borrow money through issuance of bonds and other forms of indebtedness,” and since it is within the province of the legislature to incur debt on behalf of the state, there is a constitutional nexus between the powers and responsibilities of the directors on the board and members of the General Assembly

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Constitutional – Criminal Practice – Sex Offender – Lifetime SBM – Likelihood of Re-Offending (access required)

State v. Dykes Where the General Assembly based its imposition of lifetime satellite monitoring of sex offenders on the likelihood of re-offending, S.C. Code Ann. § 23-3-540(H) – which precludes judicial review for persons convicted of criminal sexual conduct with a minor in the first degree or lewd act on a minor – is unconstitutional

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Constitutional – Separation of Powers — Appropriations & Expenditures – Labor & Employment – Public Employees – Health Insurance – Premium Increases — Administrative (access required)

Hampton v. Haley Although an executive agency is generally not required to spend all appropriated funds, since the 2012-2013 Appropriations Act expressed the clear intent of the General Assembly that an entire $51 million appropriation be spent on premium increases for the state group health insurance plan and that plan enrollees not bear any of the premium increase, and since members of the Budget and Control Board all acknowledged that the appropriation indicated that intent, the Board violated the separation of powers when it decided to require enrollees to pay half the premium increase.

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Constitutional – Separation of Powers — Appropriations & Expenditures – Labor & Employment – Public Employees – Health Insurance – Premium Increases — Administrative (access required)

Bryson v. State Budget & Control Board Petitioner brought this suit seeking a declaration that the S.C. Budget and Control Board’s Aug. 8, 2012 decision raising enrollee premiums for the state’s health insurance plan was a violation of the constitutional separation of powers.

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Constitutional – Homeowner’s ‘Screwed’ Sign Struck (access required)

Brown v. Town of Cary A resident of Cary, N.C., loses his constitutional challenge to a local sign ordinance, cited by the town to demand removal of a sign painted on the resident’s house saying “Screwed by the Town of Cary”; the 4th Circuit reverses the district court decision for the resident, and says the Cary sign ordinance is content neutral and passes constitutional scrutiny.

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Constitutional – Campaign Finance Law Partly Upheld (access required)

Center for Individual Freedom Inc. v. Tennant, Sec’y of the State of W. Va. In a challenge by plaintiff advocacy groups, the Center for Individual Freedom and West Virginians for Life, to the district court’s decision interpreting West Virginia’s statutory scheme to regulate advocacy groups’ spending in political campaigns, the 4th Circuit upholds the district court decision to strike periodicals from the definition of “electioneering communications” and upholds the definition’s exclusion of grassroots lobbying, but reverses other portions of the lower court decision.

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Constitutional – First Amendment – Free Speech – Labor & Employment – Public Employees – Course of Employment – Non-Employer – Qualified Immunity (access required)

Rowe v. Benjamin Even though the speech that got plaintiff fired was on a matter of public concern, since he spoke out pursuant to his official duties as a government employee, the First Amendment does not protect him from discipline. Although the defendant-mayor was not plaintiff’s employer, since this area of law is not well settled, the mayor is entitled to qualified immunity.

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Constitutional – Free Speech – Pregnancy Center – Limited Services – Municipal Ordinance – Sign Posting – No Licensed Medical Staff (access required)

Centro Tepeyac v. Montgomery County, Md. A Maryland limited-services pregnancy services center wins an injunction against enforcement of a local ordinance that would require it to post a sign saying it did not have a “licensed medical professional on staff”; the 4th Circuit reverses the district court’s denial of an injunction to the center.

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