EDITORIAL: More alcohol, less help for those who need it
More of South Carolina is gaining more access to alcohol. More people can buy and consume it on Sundays. It’s at ballgames and festivals, as Clinton demonstrated this year when the city council made it possible to buy and consume booze at uptown venues.
Now, if logic follows, isn’t it time for the State of South Carolina to give more resources to the demons of alcohol. We all know them - drunk driving and alcoholism.
Those “anti-alcohol” resources, we suspect, have not been enhanced and, in fact, may have taken a step backward. Eight more counties have agreed to let people buy and drink alcohol on Sundays - cities have to pass their own vote to do it and on Nov. 6, three more municipalities did just that. You can bet the house on this - if there is more drinking, there are going to be more alcohol-related deaths.
We often don’t agree with FITS News, but it is right on point when it says this:
Residents in eight South Carolina counties – and two municipalities – can now legally purchase alcohol on Sundays after voters approved local referendums this week.
The counties that approved Sunday sales this week were: Anderson, Calhoun, Darlington, Edgefield, Florence (in bars and restaurants only), Greenwood, Laurens and Marlboro. Meanwhile three towns – Abbeville, Allendale and Clemson, S.C. – approved similar referendums.
Prior to Tuesday, 25 South Carolina counties already permitted Sunday sales – meaning once these results are certified, only 13 of the state’s 46 counties will still enforce this prohibition. Meanwhile, sixteen municipalities allowed Sunday sales prior to this week’s voting.
For more information on which counties and municipalities allow for Sunday sales, visit the S.C. Department of Revenue – which issues alcohol permits to retailers.
While most of the referendums were not particularly controversial, the Laurens County measure – which passed with 55 percent of the vote – could wind up inviting a court challenge.
What happened? Well, the county election commission added the words “unincorporated portions of the county” to the language of the ballot measure – hoping to preserve the autonomy of town leaders in Laurens, Clinton, Gray Court and Waterloo regarding Sunday alcohol sales.
This added language was not part of the proposed ordinance approved by county council, however.
Meaning voters approved something different than what was supposed to have been put to them …
County administrator Jon Caime told The Laurens County Advertiser the language was “changed to make the referendum legal.”
Really? We wonder if Caime knows how this process works …
If you’re going to pass an ordinance to authorize a referendum, those should at least “match up”.
We don’t really have a “moral” or religious outrage about more drinking on Sunday. That “day of rest” idea is long gone anyway.
We do know, however, families that have been devastated by the actions of others - not their own family members, but people they unexpectedly came into contact with - making the choice to drink and drive.
People who make that choice DO HAVE state resources to learn how to stop; sometimes the Highway Patrol “persuades” them to stop. We think all counties that pass a Sunday alcohol referendum should be required to give $100,000/year to the alcohol and drug PREVENTION AGENCY in that county -- cities, too.
We tax alcohol - more alcohol consumed means more tax revenue - and we need to put it in a good place, not political deep-pockets.