For the third year, lawmakers from Myrtle Beach, Horry County and local members of the S.C. General Assembly met at the city’s convention center Monday morning to discuss topics of mutual interest and see how they can work together to get things done.
The lawmakers first met in 2010 at the suggestion of Myrtle Beach City Councilman Philip Render, who said the purpose was to provide a space where the lawmakers could share what they were working on and any concerns they may have.
“The first year was more informational in nature,” Render said. “The level of substantive conversation between elected lawmakers has yielded more tangible results after each year.”
Render said many of the topics covered in Monday’s meeting were the result of working together in previous joint meetings.
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“The back gate, ITAP [International Technology and Aerospace Park] cooperation, state tourism funding [for advertising] are all tangible results of our discussions,” he said.
Many lawmakers in attendance spoke to the importance of working together to get things done.
“Everybody smiles when we fight against each other,” said District 106 Rep. Nelson Hardwick, R-Surfside Beach. “If we’d work as hard with each other as we work against each other, we’d have an interstate by now.”
Myrtle Beach City Councilman Mike Lowder said it was helpful for all of the lawmakers to meet face-to-face because it helps move things along in the legislative process.
For example, Lowder said he saw the issue of regulating the sale and use of laser pointers as an opportunity for city and county elected officials to combine efforts.
“My personal feeling is that the county and municipalities have a far better opportunity to pass an ordinance much faster than the state will,” he said. “I think this is a great opportunity for us to work together.”
Previously, the county said it wanted to wait and see what would happen at the state level before moving forward with legislation at the local level. But many in attendance stressed the urgency of needing to pass an ordinance as soon as possible.
“I have been a victim of this inside Horry County and outside Horry County. It’s a very serious thing and it needs to be addressed now,” said Horry County Councilman Al Allen.
District 107 Rep. Alan Clemmons also urged the County Council to move forward with an ordinance as it sometimes takes years for legislation to get passed in the S.C. General Assembly.