Thursday, April 12, 2007

Update No. 2: Clarification on beer bills

I received a return call from another staffer in the office of S.C. Rep. Jim Harrion (R-Richland), and following that conversation, I have to correct the date of the debate on House Bill 3624.

I can now also shed more light on the different roles that are being played by House Bill 3218 and House Bill 3624, both of which would allow, in South Carolina, the sale of beer with as much as 14 percent alcohol by weight.

House Bill 3624 might be debated Thursday (April 19), but it is a "back-up" bill in the event that HB 3218 doesn't pass, according to Heather Smith in Harrison's office.

House Bill 3218 is up for debate Wednesday (April 18), as previously reported. It has already been through the House Judiciary Committee and the Senate, so it's ready for debate and vote in front of the full House.

If HB 3218 were to be voted down, then HB 3624 would head to the Senate, Smith said. The Senate would give its approval, disapproval, or amendments, and then it would return to the House.

While both bills would allow higher alcohol content in beers, HB 3218 has additional language. It also addresses something relating to import and distribution of foreign beer, and that part of the bill was authored in the House Labor Committee. The person I need to talk to in the labor committee -- so I can understand what the dense language says -- will not be available until Monday.

HB 3218 originally dealt only with the import and distribution issue. The alcohol content language was added during its trip to the Senate.

-Colin Burch

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