Politics & Government

‘The People’s Rep:’ Why one SC lawmaker is trying to trademark his signature hashtag

Justin Bamberg
Justin Bamberg AP

The Buzz is The State’s weekly, sometimes irreverent look at happenings in S.C. politics and state government.

State Rep. Justin Bamberg began calling himself “The People’s Rep” when he first ran for the S.C. House of Representatives in 2014.

Now, the admittedly cheesy lawmaker is trying to trademark the moniker.

“It’s so corny, my friends picked on me for it,” the Bamberg County Democrat said. “But now I walk through town and people say, ‘What’s up, People’s Rep?’”

Nowadays, you can find the phrase — and a pair of other slogans — near the end of Bamberg’s tweets, followed by a registered trademark emoji. The others are #BambergLegal and #GoodBetterBamberg.

Bamberg, a trial attorney, told The State he is trying to legally claim the phrases for both his law practice and his political campaigns.

Bamberg says he’ll work with a trademark lawyer to ensure he gets the phrases properly registered, noting it isn’t a field of the law he’s familiar with. He once owned the website domain BambergForSC.com but let the paperwork lapse. Now, the site re-directs potential voters to what appears to be a very basic webpage for a Chinese-language primary school.

Originally, the registration sign was just “a cool little emoji I thought would stand out more online,” Bamberg said, adding, “I’m very cheesy.”

Bamberg said he originally thought up “The People’s Rep” hoping it would stick with rural Bamberg County residents who aren’t necessarily attuned to statewide politics.

‘The MOST dangerous renewable’

Elsewhere on Twitter this week, state Sen. Tom Davis, R-Beaufort, had a little fun at Attorney General Alan Wilson’s expense.

After speaking in support of a solar panel bill at the State House on Tuesday, Davis tweeted an image of himself at the press conference with the caption “Solar is the MOST dangerous renewable in the US — and is a gateway to other renewables.”

That’s a reference by Davis — also the sponsor of a medical marijuana bill in the Senate — to Wilson’s infamous declaration earlier this year that marijuana is America’s “most dangerous drug.”

The solar bill, like the medical marijuana bill, remains tied up in the Senate.

Senate budget writers wrapped up their debate Thursday afternoon over how it wants to spend roughly $9 billion, setting forth what could be a contentious budget debate on the floor in two weeks.

Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems

Senators avoided splitting with the House on money it added to raise teacher and state worker pay. It also amended a plan to offer South Carolinians a one-time refund check.

In March, the House adopted the state’s budget — that’ll take effect July 1 — with a proposal to give every taxpayer a one-time check of $50. However, Senate budget writers tweaked that proposal to offer $50 checks per return.

What could cause tension on the floor are two budget amendments in particular, including a one-year law seeking to strip state money from abortion providers.

The other: a resolution allowing the state to solicit bids to tell public utility company Santee Cooper, but giving the Legislature power to decide whether to sell.

That is more than likely to cause a rift on the Senate floor between leaders and Sen. Larry Grooms, R-Berkeley, a staunch opponent to selling the state’s utility company.

Maayan Schechter contributed

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Bristow Marchant is currently split between covering Richland County and the 2020 presidential race. He has more than 10 years’ experience covering South Carolina. He won the S.C. Press Association’s 2015 award for Best Series on a toxic Chester County landfill fire, and was part of The State’s award-winning 2016 election coverage.
Maayan Schechter (My-yahn Schek-ter) covers the S.C. State House and politics for The State. She grew up in Atlanta, Ga. and graduated from the University of North Carolina-Asheville. She has previously worked at the Aiken Standard and the Greenville News.