A bill currently moving through the South Carolina Legislature would ban liquor sales on some holidays.
A House subcommittee cleared legislation Thursday that would ban the sale of liquor on Christmas and Thanksgiving. Rep. Dennis Moss (R-Cherokee) sponsored the bill, saying he wanted to cut down on alcohol-related crimes that increase during the holiday season.
He said, for a long time, governors would sign an executive order that closed liquor stores on those days. However, Governor Mark Sanford stopped the practice during his administration.
Moss, a retired Highway patrol officer, said he hoped the bill would also help decrease domestic violence during the holidays.
The ban would not affect restaurants or bars that serve alcohol. The bill also includes a provision that would allow for the sale of liquor on Election Day, which is currently illegal. It now heads to the full House Judiciary Committee.
— Meanwhile, a pair of restructuring bills passed the House with little opposition this week.
One would merge the Cabinet-level Department of Mental Health and the Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services into a single agency– the Department of Behavioral Health Services. The bill would also move the Continuum of Care program into the new department. The Continuum, which serves children with severe emotional disturbances, is currently housed in the Governor’s Office.
The legislation passed by an 82-10 vote. Some opponents were concerned the scope of the new department would be too broad. They argued substance abuse and mental health were separate issues that should not be merged into a single agency.
A second bill would move the State Museum and South Carolina Arts Commission into the Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism. Supporters argued it made more sense to have them in the Cabinet-level department than in the Budget and Control Board, which serves as more of an administrative agency. Representatives had already approved of the transfer under the state budget passed last month.
Opponents noted the irony of moving the Arts Commission under the de facto control of Governor Nikki Haley, who publicly called for legislators to eliminate the Commission’s funding entirely in her January “State of the State” speech. Wednesday’s bill passed 70-27.