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Successes of SC Bikers

We are nearly halfway done with this two-year legislative session. The good news is we have defeated or seriously wounded several of the bills we oppose including S1 the seat belt bill, S40 the traffic camera bill, and S79 the gang bill. Another bit of good news is our bill to repeal the handle bar law has been introduced as S772. The thanks and praise should go to all the legislative warriors who lobbied at the state house and those who wrote letters.

The reason for these successes is simple; we have sent many biker lobbyists to the state house and still more letters. Many of the letters have been hand delivered by our members. Our legislators are getting the message and many seem happy to please us. We have gotten good at killing legislation we oppose. However we need to press on if we wish to pass our own legislation such as S772.

You will find a letter insert in this newsletter; please take the time to carefully complete it or better yet write your own letter to the Senate Transportation Committee in support of S772. You will find the correct address on the top of the enclosed form letter. Please make copies of the insert and take them to your next chapter meeting. We need hundreds of these form letters or dozens of handwritten letters mailed to the committee to get our bill moving.

ABATE of SC has held several lobby days since my last article was written. We opposed the gang bill S79 at lobby days on March 2nd, March 31st, April 13th, and April 19th. We attended subcommittee and full Judiciary Committee meetings; volunteers such as Cathy Dillon, Michelle Williams, and Jerry Jordan took additional time off to deliver letters prior to and in addition to our lobby days. If you missed these lobby days because you were unaware, please join our ezine at www.abatesc .com.

Tuesday April 19th the full Judiciary Committee passed an amendment to remove the motorcycle language from the street gang bill S79 as we requested. After this amendment passed the sponsor of the bill requested it be continued; our Lexington members deserve a lot of credit for this victory. The gang bill has at least ten more amendments to be heard. The bill is very likely dead and will not move before the June 2nd recess. The South Carolina Coalition of motorcycle clubs also deserve a lot of credit for helping get the word out to all corners of our state and generating many letters opposing S79.

Some of our legislators feel they know what is best for us. Even some of the senators on the Judiciary Committee think they know what is best and intend to protect us from ourselves; the enemies of liberty will often say it is for the children. A new example of this is Senate Bill 374; this bill would supersede property rights allowing local government the power to control smoking on private property. Our good friend Senator McConnell tried to rally the friends of liberty to kill S374 in committee and failing that he wrote an unfavorable minority report. I, like McConnell, do not smoke but I agree with him that smoking in public places should be market driven. You may wish to contact your state senator in opposition to this bill.

Finally we are taking on discriminatory practices in the City of Charleston parking garages. Some parking garages especially those in the more tourist oriented downtown areas like the Market do not allow motorcycles to park. A letter writing effort is currently underway to bring this practice and our disfavor to the attention of Parking Administrator William Stephens at 180 Lockwood Drive Extension, Charleston, SC 29466. Please take the time to write no matter where you live. Remember “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

Some of you are disappointed with the slow progress some of our proposed legislation and especially the right of way legislation. Writing letters is not real exciting or glamorous but it is an important part of grassroots organizations. Handwritten letters work best by far but form letters can be effective in large enough numbers. I suggest and hope that all of our members will hand write letters. The suggested use of form letters is to solicit support from the general public and to educate other bikers of our issues. Keep those letters coming; if your pet issue is not moving fast enough to suit you, please generate more letters written to legislators and committees. Petitions are useless and can even result in negative reactions when used to attempt to influence our general assembly.

The legislative warriors of ABATE have plenty of reason to be proud. You have truly mastered how to kill bad legislation. Our next goal is to improve our ability to pass good legislation. Our annual party to show appreciation to the legislative warriors of ABATE will take place near Barnwell on Father’s Day weekend from noon June 17th until. I look forward to seeing each of you there and thanking you for your hard work. Remember, for each of our successes a lot of work is done behind the scenes by our real heroes; if you see some of them with their new red legislative warrior patches consider buying a few drinks.

Have I done all that which I can to the best of my abilities for ABATE and biker rights? Hell no but I am trying. To all of the members responsible for our success, THANK YOU!

FastFred Ruddock
ABATE of SC State Coordinator


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