Next week could be the end of the so-called Stone Bill’s saga after a group of state senators and representatives met Wednesday to iron out the details of the legislation.
The conference committee comprised of three members each from the South Carolina Senate and South Carolina House of Representatives met in Columbia Wednesday to discuss the differences in the legislation, which hadn’t yet been discussed in the full Senate after being attached to another piece of alcohol-related legislation in the House as an amendment.
After about an hour, the committee adjourned and announced its report was scheduled to be presented in both the House and Senate next Tuesday. There was no indication as to whether there were any changes made to the bill for better or for worse, and it’s unlikely the committee’s report will be made public before being presented to lawmakers next week.
Conference committee meetings are not public, but according to Wesley Donehue, there were eight lobbyists representing the SC Beer Wholesalers Association and Anheuser-Busch – which has mounted its own campaign against the bill – in the room. Craft brewers were not alone, though, as lobbyist Sara Hazzard – who helped get the Stone Bill added as an amendment in the first place – was present, as well as officials from RJ Rockers representing the SC Brewers Association. Again, no word yet on what if any influence either side had on the legislation.