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SC politics: Gov. Haley applauds end of Election Day ban on alcohol sales

08/13/2014 8:51 PM

08/14/2014 6:51 AM

Haley applauds end of Election Day ban on alcohol sales

Gov. Nikki Haley said Wednesday she is glad South Carolina will lift its ban on Election Day alcohol sales, the last state in the nation to do so.

“There was a day and time when they were concerned about things like that,” Haley said during a ceremonial bill signing at Columbia’s Conquest Brewing Co. “This is business. We don’t ever want state government to get in the way of good business.”

The law, passed in the spring, bans alcohol sales on Christmas Day, which were previously legal. Asked if the Christmas Day ban was appropriate, Haley said she preferred not to stop sales: “If I choose to purchase on Christmas Day, that’s probably a personal decision.”

Another portion of the new law allows breweries to sell more of their beer on site if they serve food.

The measure was promoted as a way to lure Stone Brewing to South Carolina, but the California company subsequently decided to look elsewhere for an East Coast location. Haley said the state’s existing 20 breweries could take advantage of the change in the law that now has gone into effect.

House panel to study certificate-of-need program

The S.C. Supreme Court has made it clear that if Gov. Nikki Haley wants to kill the state’s certificate-of-need program, she needs to do more than veto the program’s budget as she did last year. The Republican needs to work through the legislative process, the court recently ruled.

On Wednesday, that process began as House Ways and Means Committee chairman Brian White, R-Anderson, announced the creation of a special committee to conduct a review of the certificate-of-need program. The committee is tasked with looking at the funding and regulations of the program, designed to prevent the expensive duplication of some health care services.

Haley has said market forces should decide, for example, whether hospitals expand.

The special committee is made up of three Republican state representatives – Murrell Smith of Sumter, Bill Herbkersman of Beaufort and James Merrill of Charleston – and two Democratic House members – Bill Clyburn of Aiken and Michael Anthony of Spartanburg.

“We are open to updating the law to create a modern, more common-sense process for businesses attempting to obtain a certificate of need,” White said. “However, we recognize that there are many competing interests that have a stake in the CON program, and this makes finding a quick and simple solution difficult.”

Andrew Shain and Joey Holleman contributed.

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A blog from The State's political team of Cassie Cope, Jamie Self and Andy Shain. Email tips to Follow The Buzz @buzzatthestate. Follow Cassie @cassielcope. Follow Jamie @jamiemself. Follow Andy @andyshain.

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