“Knockout Game Prevention Act” (Filed 1/23/14)
H.4562 would classify assaulting another person with the intent to cause the person to lose consciousness as assault and battery of an aggravated nature. A person being tried under this offence, if under the age of seventeen, could be tried as an adult at the discretion of the judge. It would also make a conviction for this violation evidence of criminal gang activity.
While well intended, this type of reactionary legislation is not necessary as we already have laws on the books that make it illegal to assault someone. Also, making a conviction for this violation evidence of criminal gang activity will do nothing to curb this type of criminal activity, as those who would commit these crimes almost certainly don’t care about the legal consequences.
Regulating your Fireplace
S.348 would regulate fireplaces, and mandate that new fireplaces must have “tight-fitting flue dampers and outdoor combustion air”. Bluntly put, state legislators shouldn’t be putting mandates on how you build your fireplace, which is a part of your private property. Little regulations like this can add up, putting a costly burden on both businesses and consumers.
H.3780 declares March 14, 2013 as “Etiquette Day in South Carolina”. Regardless of the varying opinions on the importance of etiquette, bills like this distract legislators, waste time, and provide further backing to the argument that session should be shortened.
Authorizing Counties to Monitor your Lawn Upkeep
H.3288 would grant county governments the authority to make laws requiring that property owners keep their lots clear of, “rubbish, debris, and other unhealthy and unsightly material or conditions”. The bill also would allow for enforcement of the potential county laws by having a country employees correct the conditions on the lot and then passing the cost back to the property owner as a lien on the property collectible as county taxes. Aside from being a clear violation of property rights, the potential county laws in question represent a waste of resources. It is not the place of country governments to be the “Unsightly Material Police” for private lots. This kind of clean property effort is better left to an organization like a homeowners association.
Age Discrimination against State Board Members
S.373 seeks to bar any individual who has attained the age of 72 or older from serving or continuing to serve on any state board, committee, or commission. We’re not quite sure what the intentions behind this bill may be, but we’re unaware of any inherent conditions of this specific age that impairs an individual from exercising their civic duty to South Carolina. To discriminate against individuals on the basis of age is no less still discrimination. While age is no assurance of qualification for service in state government, we believe individuals should be chosen solely on the basis of personal merit.
Requiring Registration of ATVs
H.3353 would require that owners of All Terrain Vehicles or ATVs apply for and receive a decal and registration from the DMV for their ATVs before they can legally operate them. This is nothing more than another attempted infringement on private property rights concerning an issue, (ATVs) that is of almost zero importance on the state level.
Harsher Regulations on Nonresident Drivers
S.25 would prohibit nonresident drivers of South Carolina who have their vehicle registered in another state, but have not paid property taxes on the vehicle, from operating the vehicle in our state. First of all, paying property tax on a vehicle is a questionable concept in the first place unless perhaps the person is living in the vehicle. Secondly, it should be asked why it matters to anyone in our state, especially our politicians, if someone who has legally registered their vehicle, is licensed in another location, and has residency in that location, has paid property taxes on the vehicle. Thirdly, there does not seem like a simple way to enforce this, since many people don’t drive around with proof they paid property tax on their vehicle.
Asking Congress to give DC Statehood
H.3178 “memorializes” (a fancy word for “asks”) the U.S Congress to enact legislation making the District of Columbia a state in the full sense of the word. This would entail DC getting representatives in the U.S House and Senate and budget autonomy. There is no reason South Carolina state legislators should be wasting time considering federal-level issues and passing non-binding laws that don’t affect their constituents in their respective districts of South Carolina.
Beach Music Day
H.3418 seeks to establish a Beach Music Day in South Carolina. While it is true that beach music has played a vibrant role in our unique state heritage, we object to the general idea of this resolution and other resolutions like it for the simple reason that it wastes time and distracts legislators from more important and pressing matters before the state. Let’s focus on serious legislation instead of silly resolutions like these.
Establishing a High Speed Rail System Commission
H. 3306 would establish a High Speed Rail Commission, which would study and promote high speed rail together with corresponding economic development opportunities in South Carolina and attempt to maximize federal funding in support of high speed rail service to the state. While it may seem nice to have a new alternative method of transportation, and it may seem like a good idea for state legislators to get the federal government to pay for it, the start-up and operational costs of a high speed rail system may outweigh its long-term benefits. South Carolina is already served by Amtrak, which loses money despite large federal subsidies and increased ridership brought on by high gasoline prices. There is little reason to believe a new rail system would fare much better. Moreover, the Southeast High Speed Rail Corridor has already independently studied the feasibility of providing service to South Carolina and determined its first priorities are Virginia and North Carolina. A South Carolina government commission would have a hard time changing their minds.
Creating a “Bingo Advisory Committee”
H. 3765 would create the Charitable Bingo Advisory Committee. This committee’s purpose would be to advise the charitable bingo industry (private lotteries) in complying with the laws pursuant to running a charitable bingo game. Luckily, a private organization already offers this service, the SCCBA (http://www.sccharitybingo.com). Since the SCCBA is a private organization, Charitable Bingo Operators would be free to choice to join, as opposed to all tax-payers paying for a service which is only used by a couple citizens, and is not subject to the laws of supply and demand. Lastly, if the government needs to provide a board to advise how to comply with the law, the law may be too complicated.