COLUMBIA, S.C. (WBTW) — A South Carolina Democratic lawmaker wants to return the legal drinking age in the state to 18.
Rep. Todd Rutherford, the state House Minority Leader, has pre-filed a bill that will be considered when the General Assembly reconvenes in January, according to a news release from South Carolina House Democrats.
It would be the first change in the state’s drinking age since it was raised from 18 to 21 in 1984. The change came as the federal government threatened to withhold federal funding to states with lower legal drinking ages.
“This is a personal freedom issue,” Rutherford said in the release. “If you are old enough to fight for our country, if you’re old enough to vote, if you’re old enough to sign on for thousands of dollars of student loans for a college education, then you are old enough to have a drink.”
Rutherford said he thinks the state’s fiscal outlook is such that the drinking age can be adjusted while also improving roads.
“Now is the time to do this,” he said. “Between the existing state budget surplus, all the money that Joe Biden has sent us, and the economic growth that will come as a result, we can afford to do this. Rather than criminalize adults for doing something that is otherwise legal, we can show the rest the of the country that there is a better way.”