Bill would close liquor stores on certain holidays in SC

COLUMBIA (WACH, AP) -- A bill moving through the South Carolina House would see that liquor stores are closed during the Christmas and Thanksgiving holidays.

Thursday morning, a House Judiciary subcommittee advanced the measure that bans alcohol sales during those days.

Proponents say the bill would cut down on alcohol related crimes that occur on the holidays and increase family values.

Republican Rep. Dennis Moss of Gaffney says his bill can be seen as a public safety measure. The retired Highway Patrol officer said the holiday bans could cut down on binge drinking that leads to domestic violence.

Moss explains liquor store employees in his district have said they don't want to work on Christmas and Thanksgiving and they didn't have to for years. That's because governors had routinely issued executive orders barring liquor sales on those holidays. But Moss said that changed a couple of years into former Gov. Mark Sanford's administration when he stopped issuing the orders.

Some store owners says it's not going to hurt their sales. In fact, they say it could be a boon to business.

Douglas Harper, owner of Harper's ABC Store off Shakespeare Road in Columbia says if the bill passes, it's actually going to help alcohol sales because people will stock up the day before.

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Republican Rep. Thad Viers of Myrtle Beach says he expects the prohibition on Thanksgiving sales will be dropped from the bill.

The ban wouldn't impact restaurants or bars that serve alcohol.

Despite the sales ban on Christmas and Thanksgiving, the bill brings back the sale of liquor on Election Day. That ban has been in place for decades.

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(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)