Although the calendar tells us summer is not officially over, students are back in school and college football has kicked off. I know you are thinking what I am thinking: an excellent time for a legislative report!
There is a reason for the timing. When the legislative session ended back in June, summer vacation season was already in full swing and no one really wanted to talk about the business of lawmaking for at least 90 days. Now, we can take a fresh look back.
So, how did family and values fare in the 2013-2014 South Carolina General Assembly?
The answer is…it was a defensive struggle…but the family values team won 13-3.
Let’s start with our opponent’s “offense.” [We call this our WATCH list.]
Here’s what happened when our opponents had the football. On their first play from scrimmage, they tried a Hail Mary pass to Over-Regulate Homeschooling. That plan didn’t work when two of the receivers ran off the field during the play and left the quarterback to fall on the ball. It was embarrassing to say the least.
When they got back on offense they tried a series of fifteen straight Cloud of Dust plays—running right up the middle in the name of liberalizing Sex Ed in the schools. That drive gained some momentum when our boys on defense got tired, but their drive stalled on our twenty yard line and they were forced to punt.
Later in the game, they tried a series of trick plays, all of which resulted in punts when our defensive unit held firm: the Unhitch & Go (making divorce easier), the JumbleRooski (same-sex couple income tax filing and gender identity discrimination), the Fake Feel Good (instant bingo tickets), the Reverse (bringing back video poker), the Hic and Ladder (alcohol tastings at drugstores), and the old Statute for Libertines play (redefining family).
After an exhausting two years, they kicked a field goal giving them three points, all related to alcohol—coupons for liquor, beer for NASCAR, and brewpub samples size increases. The latter was to attract a $31 million investment from Stone Brewing, which recently announced they are looking elsewhere. We watched the kick from the sidelines.
We were able to get a ban on Sweepstakes, the video-poker imitating scheme that had begun to spring up around the state as “business centers.” We were also able to get some legislative push back against the College of Charleston for the pornographic book they required all freshmen to read. Several laws relating to children were tightened up. New educational standards to replace Common Core are about to be written thanks to legislation passed late. We are also pleased that Emma’s Law to require ignition interlocks for repeat drunk drivers.
All of that was worth about 13 football points.
But, there is blood, toil, tears and sweat left on the playing field. No major pro-life or religious freedom legislation passed the General Assembly in the entire two year session (2013-2014). Two major pro-life bills were defeated, including the fetal pain bill. Three religious liberty bills died a slow death, including healthcare freedom and protection for collegiate Christian clubs.
To put it in perspective, a pro-family agenda in Bible belt South Carolina winning by a margin of 13-3 is like Clemson or South Carolina beating Newberry College by ten points. Sure, the coaches would tell the media they were “pleased with a win over a good program,” but the two teams are in vastly different leagues. It should have been a drubbing.
So, how do we win big next year? How do we live up to our God-given potential and calling in the Palmetto State?
One way to do this is to put more fans in the stands. We need your support at critical junctures if we are going to win. That may mean a contribution to help pay for our efforts, inviting other like-minded fans to take part in the game by signing up for our emailed updates, or by cheering loudly when the game is on the line (calling an elected official when we ask you to).
Will you help?
Thanks for your prayers and financial investment.
Oran P. Smith, PhD
PS: With the legislature out of session, the most important project we have is the Statement of belief in traditional marriage. This is designed as an encouragement for Attorney General Alan Wilson. You can sign it and pass it along here. To make a donation, please visit our PayPal page here. You can sign up for our emailed updates here.