Monday, April 19, 2010

Bring charity raffles into the sunshine

Thanks to the many who called about last week’s column on NASA and the American “can do” spirit. I was surprised to learn there were so many NASA retirees in the area, as well as folks who routinely follow space launches. I do appreciate your kind words.

The Senate has run into some problems with the budget. It seems there may be some accounting miscommunication between different segments of the state government that will make the final budget even more austere. I would like to postpone my budget commentary until we have more visibility on that emerging situation.

Instead, there are a couple of things I want to discuss that have a very local application. The first has to do with golf carts as a form of everyday transportation. There is a bill introduced that would change some of the current limitations on how far from home one may venture in a golf cart, the so called “two-mile rule”. Simply stated, you can legally travel up to two miles from your home or place of business in your golf cart if it is road equipped, you have liability insurance, and you stay on secondary roads. Unfortunately, you can eat up those two miles in Sun City before you even get to the gate-- same over on Daufuskie Island.
What we have introduced is a measure that would, among other things, begin the mileage count at the end of the commons area, usually the property gate. This would open up much more of the shopping area around Sun City and allow Daufuskie Islanders to legally venture much further down the road before the long arm of the state tags you as a misdemeanor outlaw. With the push for cleaner transportation, it would seem that this would be one of those “no-brainers”. However, I anticipate we will run into opposition from areas of the state where the golf cart is not as appreciated as it is in the Lowcountry.

The second thing I want to report is some progress on the effort to bring charity raffles into the sunshine of 21st century legality. We will have a constitutional amendment or question that will reflect whether the people want to have permission to hold charity raffles or the legal ability to have a friendly poker game in their home for the entertainment of friends. This is a matter that my subcommittee has been working on for some time. We have heard from law enforcement, charitable organizations, and a fair number of people who just feel it’s silly to be unable to have a social poker game in their home because of a two hundred year old law. Again, another seeming “no-brainer”.

In conclusion, I just want to comment on the Heritage (it was great). I also want to comment on the blossoming of business in Old Town Bluffton. Even before the streetscape was complete, it seemed that visitors were flocking to the art venues and the great restaurants in the Calhoun Street, Promenade, and May River Road areas.

Now that spring is here, its almost like every day is a parade. It certainly appears that all the hard work and planning is coming to fruition.
Last Thursday, we had not only the very well attended Farmer’s Market, we had hundreds of patriotic Americans attending an old fashioned political camp meeting at the park in the Promenade. Whether you were in Old Town Bluffton for yellow crookneck squash or impassioned speeches, we all had a great time and we all got along just fine. At the end of the day, isn’t that what we all want?