March 2007 ABATE of SC Legislative Report
By The Legislative Team
Please note the legislative process is very fluid and ever changing and this report will be dated by time it reaches your mailbox. The reader is encouraged to attend legislative meetings and contact active members of our legislative team for the latest information on legislation of concern. Please visit scstatehouse.net or call 803-734-2145 to obtain and read the latest versions of the bills that interest you.
S.141 “Criminal Gang Prevention Act”
Cliff Dalton of the Upstate spoke at length during our March Legislative meeting concerning S141 and recent amendments to S141. It appears legislators are listening and have addressed some of our concerns at least one amendment. Cliff additional noted this bill is still to vague. Ralph Bell of Lake Murray expressed concerns about the grand jury provisions and the potential cost and negative impacts. Bob Baxter of Greenville expressed a concern the fiscal impact could be compounded by future recessions. Frankie of Southern Lowcountry suggests we ask our representatives and members of the house judiciary committee to amend this bill to address our concerns and Wayne “Pickle” Coates of Lexington agrees seeking to amend the bill is our best strategy. The team agreed the best pressure point for this bill is the House Judiciary Committee at this time.
Your response to our phone call to action has made a significant impact. Frankie, Roach, Rick, and others directed by Dennis made a significant follow up at the statehouse one week after our call blitz. Please continue to call 803-734-3120 and express your concerns relating to the gang bill.
S.111 “Reb’s Red Light Bill”
Cliff Dalton reported S111 is still in the Senate Transportation Committee. This bill would allow motorcyclists to treat red lights with defective vehicle sensors as stop signs. FastFred of Charleston suggested if every member reported 2 to 3 defect sensors DOT may consider supporting this bill or at least escalate the repair and replacement of defective sensors. Bob Baxter reminded everyone to copy their emails reporting problems to DOT to their Senators, Representatives, and the Governor’s office.
Please call 803-212-6400 to express support for this bill. Report defective traffic sensors to email@example.com or 803-737-2314.
S.122 “Alcohol Testing after Fatal Accidents”
This bill is still stuck in the Senate Judiciary Committee. Those supporting this bill are encouraged to call 803 212-6610.
S.272 “Motorcycle Awareness Signs”
Frankie made us aware this bill was not addressed at the latest Motorcycle Safety Task Force Committee Meeting. Much discussion centered on how the signs would be funded. Ralph Bell addressed the problem of bureaucracy and the need to continue lobby DOT the agency responsible if we pass this bill into law.
All members of ABATE are encouraged to call 803-212-6400 in support of S272 and motorcycle awareness signs.
S.358 “Freedom of Information Act”
Frankie provided copies of this bill to those present at our legislative meeting. This bill would government agencies with in South Carolina to reduce their maximum time of response to FOIA requests from three to two weeks. The bill also limits the agencies to charging no more per copy than the average charged by local copy centers. Passage of this bill would be beneficial to ABATE and all other freedom fighters.
Please consider calling 803-212-6610 in support of swift passage of S358 the freedom of information act bill.
S.348 “Chandlers Law” aka The ATV Bill
Richard “Roach” Mercer of Swampfox spoke at length concerning this bill’s threats to private property. Don Ard of Palmetto expressed concerns this bill could be used to bobtail an all rider helmet law. All members are encouraged to call 803-212-6330 in opposition to S348 Chandlers Law.
H.3092 “Red Light Running Act” aka The Traffic Enforcement Camera Act
This bill places bikers in greater danger to rear-end impacts. Virginia repealed a similar law and removed red light cameras due to a significant increase rear-end collisions as a direct result of their red light camera program. All concerned bikers are encouraged to call 803-734-3120 in opposition to H3092 and red light cameras.
H.3201 “Recreational Poker Exemptions”
While this bill is a step in the right direction it does not go far enough to legalize poker runs. Jeff Coleman of Rock Hill is working on an amendment to address motorcycle poker runs. This bill is still stuck in the House Judiciary Committee. All bikers who organize or take part in poker runs are asked to call 803-734-3120 in support of H3201 and request that motorcycle poker runs be added to the poker exemptions granted.
H.3301 “Vehicular Homicide Bill”
Jeff Coleman suggested this bill is as close as we can get to a Right Of Way bill this session. This bill would address the problem of cage operators who kill bikers and receive fines as low as $50. The suggested strategy is not to mention “motorcycle” while lobbying this bill. Similar bills have died because many legislators do not wish to see granny punish for accidentally killing a big scary biker. This bill is currently in the House Judiciary Committee.
You are encouraged to call 803-734-3120 in support of H3301 the vehicular homicide bill.
H.3602 “Secret Compartments in Vehicles”
Bob Baxter suggested this bill may infringe upon our fourth amendment rights. People may have reasonable and legal reasons for having concealed compartments to protect valuables and secure their property. This bill is currently in the House Judiciary Committee with 13 sponsors. Concerned citizens are encouraged to call 803-734-3120 in opposition to H3602 secret compartment bill.
There is a page on MySpace promoting an All Rider Helmet Law in South Carolina. Fred Uibel is researching the late night accident involving a motorcycle cop that prompted this effort. While no one would wish to tarnish Chad’s memory, we are also aware Chad opposed similar laws and had several friends in ABATE. No action is needed at the statehouse at this time. However you should be aware of this threat and redouble your efforts to recruit more bikers into ABATE.
Upcoming Lobby Days
Please contact Frankie and Roach to help coordinate your next visit to the statehouse. An organized lobby day will be forthcoming but is dependant upon committee actions in the legislature. Please stay tuned through all means possible for an upcoming call to action.