At some point you knew it was going to happen …

South Carolina was going to run out of redneck names to attach to reactionary new laws.

Accordingly we have “Peanut’s Law,” a piece of legislation named in honor of Kenneth Long, Jr. – a.k.a. “Peanut” – a 22-year-old “flag operator” who died at the hands of a speeding motorist last August in a construction zone on Highway 41 in Williamsburg County.

Under “Peanut’s Law” – pushed by freshman “Republican” Senator Greg Hembree – the top-end fine for speeding in a work zone would be doubled from $200 to $400 (if no injuries occur) and up to $1,000 if injuries result. Lawmakers may boost those fines even higher as this bill makes its way through the S.C. General Assembly.

Sheesh …

With due condolences to Long’s family, this bill has nothing to do with “Peanut” and everything to do with lawmakers looking for another way to rip off taxpayers.

You know … so they can continue flushing money down the toilet.

Hembree says the money obtained from “Peanut’s Law” – well, half of it – would go to fund additional law enforcement.

Believe it or not, that’s a government expansion we support – although we reject efforts to raise taxes, fees or fines to pay for it.

Once again state lawmakers – who are appropriating more than $23 billion this year – want to blow new money on everything under the sun except core functions like law enforcement.

You see, there’s always new money to pay for nonsense like deficit spending at totally pointless institutions of higher learning – but when it’s time to pay for more police officers on our roadways, lawmakers always want to do it with tax, fee or fine hikes.

Of course South Carolina “Republicans” are totally on board with such smoke-and-mirrors budgeting …

In fact “GOP” consultant Earl Capps – yes, that Earl Capps – went on the record with The (Columbia, S.C.) State newspaper in support of the new law.

“This is providing a mechanism to let offenders pay,” Capps said. “The fine isn’t the deterrent. It’s the actual presence of law enforcement. It’s the visual appearance that you’ll be pulled.”

Exactly. So if the fine isn’t the deterrent – why raise it? And if the “actual presence” of law enforcement is so important, why are their 200 fewer troopers on the road in South Carolina today compared to six years ago?


After all, the state budget is $3 billion bigger today than it was back then …

Again, it’s all about priorities … or in this case, a total lack thereof. If politicians like Hembree were serious about protecting the lives of construction workers, then they would pay for additional law enforcement personnel by slashing unnecessary government – not raising taxes, fees or fines on cash-strapped South Carolinians.

Fines in the Palmetto State are high enough already. There’s no need to raise them – especially when supporters of the fine hikes openly admit that doing so will not deter behavior.