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South Carolina law accidentally bans beer and wine permits

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Legislation authored by Republican State Rep. Mike Pitt meant to make it easier for nonprofit groups to obtain temporary beer and wine permits inadvertently bans businesses and individuals from serving beer or wine.

The wording of the new law, which was designed to allow nonprofit groups to file for multiple permits at once, prevents anyone other than nonprofit and political groups from obtaining temporary special-event permits.

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“The intent of the law was very simple,” Rep. Pitts told Free Times. “For nonprofits like the NRA [National Rifle Association] or NWTF [National Wild Turkey Federation] that do fundraisers and may do 50 in the state in one year… they would be able to do 25 on one application.”

Because of the new law, which will take effect in January, the Department of Revenue will stop issuing permits to promoters, caterers and other event organizers.

“Somebody screwed up,” Tom Sponseller, head of the South Carolina Hospitality Association, said.

A House committee added the language to the bill that inadvertently banned businesses and individuals from serving beer or wine without any recorded explanation of why the language was added, Republican House Majority Leader Kenny Bingham said.

“There was not a hoopla on the floor about it,” Bingham said. “Usually when there’s something controversial, we hear about it.”

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Lawmakers will not be able to revise the new law until the next legislative session in January.


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