ABATE of South Carolina Rocked the 116th General Assembly
By FastFred Ruddock
The bikers of South Carolina unified through ABATE passed three bills to improve the lives of motorcyclists. Our lone disappointment was the failure to pass S1027 to address defective traffic sensors at red lights. During the first half of the 116th General Assembly we passed S102 to provide Purple Heart tags for motorcyclists who have earned a Purple Heart while serving our country. Prior to the close of the 116th General Assembly we passed S772 to repeal handlebar height restrictions and H4307 to reduce the property tax rate applied to motorcycles.
Reb Richardson, a member of ABATE of South Carolina’s Sumter Chapter, blazed a fierce path leading to the introduction of S1027 to provide relief to motorcycles stuck by defective traffic sensors. The press took notice of the fast work on the red light bill in January. Reb and others have vowed to press forth with this issue in the next legislative session. Currently Reb is seeking a seat in the General Assembly.
Cathy Dillon, a member of ABATE of South Carolina’s Lexington Chapter spent many hours walking the halls of the Blatt and Gressette Buildings during the first half of the session sheparding our bills. Her dedication lead directly towards passage of S102 to provide Purple Heart Recipients with appropriate state issued motorcycle tags acknowledging their sacrifices to our country. This level of dedication does not come cheap and it took a toll upon her personal life and job.
David Russell, a member of ABATE of South Carolina’s Hell Hole Chapter, tirelessly building personal relationships with his legislators convinced Senator Mescher to introduce a bill to repeal handlebar height restrictions. Dave worked his magic at a local Republican Breakfast. Mescher’s bill was identical to the version given to him by David and written by our state coordinator. This bill progressed nicely and received no opposition once it was established that most police motorcycles in South Carolina violate the current handlebar restrictions.
Jim Bronder, the chapter coordinator of ABATE of South Carolina’s Dixie Thunder Chapter, worked tirelessly to introduce a H4307 when it became apparent the Senate version S261 was not moving. H4307 reduces the personal property tax rate applied to motorcycles from 10.5% to 6%. Jim worked with others from Aiken to keep this bill moving through the House and Senate; some of the team members involved included Richard Cooper, Geri-Lynn Murtha, and Vy Bronder.
Members in two of our areas also played key roles in the final push to pass H4307. Members of Southern Lowcountry successfully contacted Senator Richardson and convinced him to pull his controversial amendment that was endangering our bill. The members of CSRA likewise convinced Senator Hutto to pull his amendments and work towards prompt passage of H4307. The members of these two areas deserve our special thanks for responding so well to our additional legislative calls to action in their respective areas.
Dennis Welborn and his team of forward observers such as Doc Manning and Jeff Coleman were instrumental in the creation of timely alerts to our membership. Ed Haas, ABATE of South Carolina’s Media Coordinator, played a key role in gaining ABATE of South Carolina favorable press with his ingeniously crafted press releases. However no amount of work by our teams and dedicated individuals would bear fruit without the support and hard work of ABATE of South Carolina’s membership. When called upon the membership of our organization made the phones at the statehouse ring for days. The average member in the trenches is the true key to successes of ABATE of South Carolina.
Many more of you than I can list here worked these bills and have my grateful heart-felt thanks. Together we can continue to reach further and achieve even greater goals. I look forward to seeing each and every one of you at our upcoming state party or rather victory party.