Letters to the Editor

Could Sunday liquor sales reduce drunken-driving deaths by decreasing urge to binge?

North Carolina is one of 17 states in which privately run liquor stores remain illegal.
North Carolina is one of 17 states in which privately run liquor stores remain illegal. News & Observer file photo

Many years ago, when I was a teenager in Washington state, there was a referendum on the ballot to allow liquor sales on Sunday. I felt so strongly about it that I did some door-to-door campaigning against the measure.

I was particularly concerned about drunken-driving deaths on Sundays. However, the referendum passed. Then the strangest thing happened – drunken-driving deaths on Sundays fell, rather than rising. Apparently, when Sunday liquor sales were banned, folks tended to stock up on their liquor on Saturday, just in case they wanted to drink on Sunday. Once they already had it in hand, the tendency was to go ahead and drink it. Once they could actually buy it on Sunday, a significant number ended up not buying (or drinking), so drunk driving accidents actually went down.

Just something to consider in the discussion about Sunday liquor sales.

Jim Tuell

Columbia

Southern Baptist: Our past does not have to shape our future

Recently, in a State House debate over expanding Sunday liquor sales, Rep. Todd Rutherford “wondered” how Southern Baptists could claim moral high ground on the issue given their history on slavery and race relations. We as Southern Baptists have admitted we were wrong on slavery and on race relations. We have prayed for forgiveness from God and asked it of those we have wronged. Today, there are over 3,400 predominately African-American congregations in the Southern Baptist Convention. More than 20 African-Americans have served as president of state Baptist conventions. Dr. Fred J. Luter, Jr, an African-American, was elected president of the Southern Baptist Convention in 2012 and served two terms.

Here is the heart of the issue: once people sin, can they never be forgiven nor share their legitimate concerns? Thankfully, God through Jesus’ death on the cross forgives those who turn from their sins and ask forgiveness. Also, God says in Hebrews 8:12, “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” That means our past does not have to shape our future.

It is healthy in a democracy to debate issues. But let those involved debate the issues and not try to disqualify someone because of something that happened so long ago they had no control over it. Neither try to disqualify someone who has done wrong, but sincerely changed his or her mind, attitude and behavior and asked for forgiveness.

Ken Harmon

Cayce

Defend clean air: Urge state legislators to reject tobacco preemption

The U.S. surgeon general has declared that no level of secondhand smoke exposure is safe. Despite this, South Carolina is one of only 14 states that does not have a state-level ban on tobacco smoke across all workplaces, restaurants or bars. However, many counties and cities in South Carolina have successfully passed these bans to protect the health of their residents.

House Bill 3274 has been introduced in our state, which would establish tobacco preemption in South Carolina. Tobacco preemption would take away the power of county and city governments to pass ordinances protecting their citizens from the dangers of tobacco exposure. This bill would rob local democracies of the power to do the jobs they were elected to do.

I urge our legislators to oppose House Bill 3274. We should defend the power of county and city lawmakers to protect their residents. We deserve smoke-free, clean air in South Carolina. I urge our lawmakers to act quickly and to vote no on this harmful bill.

Cassie Odahowski

Columbia

Local, not state, governments should be making local decisions

Thank you for running the article on S.C. lawmakers considering banning local restrictions. It just amazes me how much the state interferes with local government.

The state already forced counties to accept large-scale hog farms against their wishes. If a municipality or county wants to ban plastic bags, straws or tobacco sales, that’s their choice. The members of those city and county councils live a lot closer to their constituents than state legislators do, see them more frequently, maybe attend the same church. They have to represent their neighbors, not the companies or organizations that seem to hold sway at the capitol. I urge state legislators reading this letter to vote against S.394 and S.3470/H.3471.

Elizabeth Russell

Columbia

The State publishes a cross section of the letters we receive from South Carolinians in order to provide a forum for our community and also to allow our community to get a good look at itself, for good or bad. The letters represent the views of the letter writers, not necessarily of The State.

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