Powdered alcohol would be banned from S.C. shelves – even if the federal government eventually OKs its sale – if a bill filed Wednesday in the state Senate becomes law.
Another bill filed Wednesday, before the January start of the two-year legislative session, would give the governor a say in picking S.C. judges. Now, that power belongs exclusively to a panel appointed by the the most powerful lawmakers in the S.C. House and Senate.
Both proposals were filed by state Sen. Larry Martin, R-Pickens, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
One proposal would extend an existing, but temporary, state ban on powdered alcohol that becomes an alcoholic beverage when liquid is added.
The makers of one powdered-alcohol product — called Palcohol — are seeking federal approval to sell it, hoping to have clearance by the spring of 2015, according to the website of Lipsmark, the product’s parent company.
S.C. lawmakers passed a one-year ban on powdered alcohol earlier this year. That ban expires in June.
Martin said his bill also would add powdered alcohol to a list of alcohol products governed by state law. If Palcohol or similar products get federal approval to be sold, they would be subject to state regulation and taxes if the state ban is lifted or overturned.
Martin said that regulation would ensure the product is being marketed safely – and not toward youth.
“My primary aim is not to tax it,” he said. “My primary aim is to keep it out of the hands of children buying it at the local 7-Eleven store.”
Martin also filed a bill that would allow the governor to recommend candidates for judge to the 10-member Judicial Merit Selection Commission.
That commission is made up of lawmakers and members of the public – appointed by the House speaker, the Senate president pro tempore and the Senate Judiciary chairman – who screen and recommend candidates to be judges.
The General Assembly then elects judges from the commission’s list of candidates. South Carolina is one of three states — with Virginia and Connecticut — where state legislators elect judges. However, Connecticut legislators only consider candidates nominated by that state’s governor, according to limited-government S.C. Policy Council think tank.
Martin’s proposal would route candidates for judge first to the governor’s office. Then, the governor would recommend candidates to the Judicial Selection Commission, which would nominate candidates.