Just as important as writing effective new laws is eliminating outdated ones. By voting yes to two amendments Tuesday, voters can clean up parts of the state constitution and end two practices that aren't just outdated, but downright backward.
Allow raffles for nonprofits.
Many South Carolinians break the law on a regular basis -- without even knowing it -- by buying and selling tickets to raffles. A standard go-to for groups to raise money for worthy causes, raffles are actually illegal. Approval of the amendment would allow nonprofits to conduct raffles for charitable, religious, fraternal and educational purposes.
It's an important change at a time when our local charities say donations have dropped and more nonprofits are competing for funding. And it gives law enforcement more time to chase bad guys instead of monitoring poker runs and casino nights.
Thankfully, the measure has faced little opposition. Just a few have raised concerns that allowing raffles could lead to other more lenient gambling laws. But we doubt it. The amendment is narrowly written.
Video poker would continue to be illegal. The state would still be the only entity allowed to run a lottery. And no casinos will be built.
Any other changes to the state's gambling laws would require new legislation. And there's been no serious talk of that.
Appoint adjutant general.
The second question will ask voters to end the practice of electing the state's adjutant general, the top military officer who oversees the state's Army National Guard, Air National Guard, State Guard and the Emergency Management Division. Instead, the office holder would be appointed by the governor starting in 2018.
South Carolina is the only state that elects its adjutant general. No actual military experience is required to win the post. And while we've been fortunate to have some good ones, including the current one, Maj. Gen. Bob Livingston, many candidates have made it on the ballot who lacked even basic military training. Approval of the amendment also will require state lawmakers to rewrite the adjutant generals' job description, ensuring all future office holders have military experience.
The change should help take politics out of the post and let future adjutant generals concentrate on doing the job well, not fundraising and campaigning.
Approval of the two amendments will help bring the state's constitution into the 21st century. You can bet on it.