COLUMBIA, S.C. — House minority leader Todd Rutherford pre-filed a bill on Wednesday to lower the minimum legal drinking age in South Carolina to 18.
The bill would lower the drinking age for beer and wine, but not liquor. Rutherford believes that lowering the drinking age will curb binge drinking and help young people understand the meaning of responsible drinking.
"It is about time we stop criminalizing people for behavior we know they are going to engage in," Rutherford said. "If a child can go to war and enter into traumatic, toxic debt trying to go to college then they should be allowed to have a beer or a glass of wine."
The drinking age in South Carolina last changed in 1984, when it was raised from 18 to 21 years old amid a move by the federal government to withhold highway funding to states with lower legal drinking ages.
The bill will be considered when the General Assembly reconvenes in January.