The [South Carolina] State House took up two pieces of legislation this week aimed at protecting two different groups. Up for debate was cracking down on gamecock fighting and protecting victims of domestic violence.
A bill protecting cocks passed through the House Judiciary Committee. Rep. John Graham Altman (R-Dist. 119-Charleston) was in favor of the gamecock bill, “I was all for that. Cockfighting reminds me of the Roman circus, coliseum.”
A bill advocates say would protect victims against batterers was tabled, killing it for the year. Rep. Altman is on the committee that looked at the domestic violence bill, “I think this bill is probably drafted out of an abundance of ignorance.”
Wednesday, Vicki Bourus, an advocate for victims of domestic violence, was inundated with phone calls and e-mail. The people were reacting to Graham Altman’s comments against the bill, “There’s just an outcry going on.”
Both cockfighting and domestic violence are currently misdemeanor crimes, punishable by 30 days in jail. If the bill passes, cockfighting will become a felony, punishable by five years in jail. Domestic violence crimes will remain a misdemeanor.