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Law Changes Coming to South Carolina in 2021

The new year is going to be here in a matter of weeks. With that, people are likely looking forward to new resolutions and are hopeful for a better year than the last. Part of that can also come from ways that state lawmakers are looking to improve South Carolina. When there are new laws or law changes, these can sometimes take place with the change of the year.

South Carolina residents should be aware of the laws that their state will have in the new year so they can be aware of their rights. Let’s take a look at the law changes coming to South Carolina in 2021.

What Law Changes Should South Carolina Residents Look For in 2021?

One of the laws applies to hunting. Act 51 S. 575 has to do with Wild Turkey Season and Limits. According to this law, the person harvesting a wild turkey will need to report it by midnight of the day of harvest. There will be several ways to report the harvest so the person has plenty of options. There will be a smart phone application, online, or they can report the harvest through a phone call. The reporting will not cost anything to the hunter.

This was originally from 2019, but the changes will go into effect for the 2021 wild turkey season that will occur in the spring. South Carolina hunters will want to know about this so they are in compliance with the law. Since this new system will be applicable a few months into the new year, this leaves plenty of time for hunters to ask questions if they have any. There is also time to look at where they will be reporting the harvests so they know exactly what to do in the spring.

What Can South Carolina Residents Expect in 2021?

Currently, South Carolina does not have a state hate crime law. There are only three states in the country without one, the others being Arkansas and Wyoming. Lawmakers are trying to change this in South Carolina in the new year.

Those opposed to state hate crime laws have taken the stance that since a federal law is in place against hate crimes, it’s unnecessary to have one at the state level. However, police and prosecutors do not have the foundations in place to properly fight for justice when people were victims of crime because of their race, religion, or sexual orientation. Experts are calling to have protections in state law.

There is a wide gap between the federal hate crime laws and the municipal hate crime ordinances, according to S.C. Rep. Wendell Gilliard. City ordinances cannot classify the crime as a felony. There are also considerable difficulties without having state laws and relying on the federal ones. The federal justice system has a backlog of hate crimes. Those who have recent cases can have a tough time having their case heard.

Gilliard tried to get a bill that was introduced in 2019 passed in 2020. The bill had support and there was strong momentum for a state law. Those who have lost loved ones because of hate crimes provided testimony on how impactful a state law could be, as well as religious leaders, business leaders, prosecutors, attorneys, and law enforcement.

One person who spoke before the Criminal Statutory Review Subcommittee of the Equitable Justice System and Law Enforcement Reform Committee, said “hate doesn’t care who it attacks at all.”

While the movement for a state law was gaining traction, the COVID-19 pandemic cut everything short. This means that hate crime bills that were filed in 2019 and 2020 were delayed. With the new year approaching, there is still focus on the bill and lawmakers are hopeful it will pass in the next year. There is bipartisan support for a state hate crime bill to pass and become law. There will likely be a lot of push to get this through in the next legislative session.

The current version of the bill includes penalties for hate crimes like fines from $2,000 to $10,000 and prison time from two to 15 years. The bill still may evolve in the coming months.

The Solomon Law Group is following the new laws and expected law changes for 2021. We understand the importance of knowing our state laws and how we can best protect the rights of the residents in South Carolina. If you’re wondering about certain state laws, you can reach out to us here.

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