What if the early birds are the worms?
By ROBERT MEYEROWITZ
Pre-filed bills show pols up to old tricks
When the South Carolina legislature convenes today for its 122nd session, it starts with a heap of bills. Among them are legislation that purportedly addresses the problems of road maintenance and improvement but will likely do nothing of the kind, according to a study by our sister organization the South Carolina Policy Council:
“The House and Senate both pre-filed bills that would raise the gas tax. S.54 and H.3111 would require a 12-cent and 14-cent increase in the gas tax respectively, but neither bill would alter the secretive and unaccountable structure of the state’s road-funding system. The sponsor of the Senate bill actually admitted that the structure needs reform, but that funding should come first – an extraordinary admission.”
SCPC also analyzed 16 bills that it found would weaken Second Amendment rights, including one that “would create a special class of government officials with special permission to carry firearms where private citizens couldn’t (H.3025).”
On the First Amendment, the council noted needless threats, such as the already-notorious H.3003, which “would require all devices that access the internet in South Carolina to block obscene content,” which “is both impractical and guaranteed to provoke a successful court challenge on First Amendment grounds.”
On tax breaks, it found that, based on the early legislation, from making “home security systems tax-free one weekend a year (S.73),” to giving “tax breaks to businesses located within an ambiguous-sounding area called a ‘Promenade Pride District’ (H.3312) and ‘port enhancement zones’ (S.58),” special interests could be protected while regular citizens might expect to see their taxes increased.
On additional and arguably unnecessary regulation, SCPC found more bad news, including one bill, H. 3038, that “attempts to regulate a whole industry by creating a State Board of Locksmiths, complete with arbitrary requirements that bar smaller would-be competitors from entering the market and competing with established firms.”
There is also some good news, in some stabs at reform. Read the entire report here.