The Battle Continues
I want to thank all the bikers who took time off work and out of their lives to successfully lobby on March 2 nd . I also wish to extend thanks to Michelle's Place for providing free beer and chili to our biker lobbyists; please thank Cathy and Michelle for their efforts and donations.
Bikers from across South Carolina came together to protect their lifestyle, rights, and to oppose the Senate Criminal Street Gang Bills S 79 and S 265 as currently written. We began gathering at Strom Thrumond's Statue on the capitol grounds before 1:30 PM; we intended to attend the 3:00 PM gangs subcommittee meeting. The subcommittee suddenly decided to cancel the subcommittee meeting at 2:40 PM with no prior warning. We then all requested prior notification of the next subcommittee meeting.
Next we walked the halls of the Gressette building; we delivered over 300 letters to Senator Jake Knotts and signed his guest book. Our visit filled pages of his guest book.
The real reason they cancelled the subcommittee meeting was all the bikers present at the state house. The fact they called to cancel it at 2:40 PM says a lot. We began gathering before 1:30 PM and had over 50 bikers present by 2:00 PM; bikers were still showing up after 3:00 PM. This lobby day had the best participation from across our state that has been seen in many years; we had a very diverse group representing bikers from nearly every part of our state and walk of life. Nearly all of the motorcycle clubs of South Carolina sent representatives in addition to the ABATE members and officers in attendance.
This cancelled meeting is a major victory; the bill was not sent to the senate floor and Jake Knotts got hundreds of letters opposing S 79 and S 265. They know we were there and they know why we were there. We did well this time despite having less than a week to organize and write letters. However the fight to preserve our lifestyle continues. I suggest we make the most of this gift; they have given us more time to organize and write letters opposing S79 and S265. We should be able to double the number of bikers present by the next subcommittee meeting.
Please follow the example of Lexington ABATE members and circulate letters to be signed in opposition to the Street Gang Legislation and the motorcycle language of the bills. I encourage all ABATE members to politely contact their fellow member Jake Knotts in opposition to S 79 and S 265.
Senator John M. "Jake" Knotts, Jr.
606 Gressette Bldg., Columbia , 29202
While we were at the capitol lobbying the primary seat belt bill S1 was sent back to committee without a second reading; I suggest this is more than just a coincident.
Here is how you can help in addition to joining ABATE: oppose S1 make a request to be notified of any subcommittee meetings by calling 803 734-3053; oppose S79 and S265 make a request to be notified of any subcommittee meetings by calling 803- 212-6610. While you are on the phone requesting notification be sure to let them know you oppose these bills. If you are not an ABATE member join instantly using our online membership application found at www.abatesc.com.
Each morning when you first look into the mirror, look straight into your eyes and ask yourself "Have I done all that which I can do for biker rights to the best of my ability?" If the answer is no try to find something more to do that day. The best answer I have been able to give is " Hell no but I am trying."
Fast Fred Ruddock
ABATE of SC State Coordinator