FACT CHECK: Has The Legal Drinking Age In South Carolina Been Lowered To 18 Years Old?
A Facebook post shared over 1,000 times claims South Carolina has lowered its statewide legal drinking age to 18 years old.
A bill to change the legal drinking age has been introduced in the state legislature, but it has yet to be formally debated or passed.
Since the 1980s, every U.S. state has barred people under 21 years old from purchasing or possessing alcoholic beverages, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. One post shared on Facebook, however, claims South Carolina recently lowered its legal drinking age to 18. “They just lowered drinking age to 18 in South Carolina!!” reads the post.
Contrary to this claim, South Carolina has not lowered its drinking age. Check Your Fact searched the South Carolina General Assembly’s website but found no record that any bill lowering the drinking age had passed. Likewise, there are no press releases from South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster about the legal drinking age having been changed.
The viral claim appears to have stemmed from news that, according to NBC-affiliate WMBF News, South Carolina State Rep. Todd Rutherford had pre-filed a bill on Nov. 10 to lower the minimum drinking age for beer and wine in the state to 18 years old. However, the proposed legislation will not come up for consideration until the state legislature reconvenes in January 2022, according to local news outlet WPDE ABC15.
“This is a personal freedom issue,” Rutherford told WMBF News. “If you are old enough to fight for our country, if you’re old enough to vote, if you’re old enough to sign on for thousands of dollars of student loans for a college education, then you are old enough to have a drink.” (RELATED: Did A Survey Find 38% Of Americans Won’t Drink Corona Beer Over Coronavirus Concerns?)
This is not the first time South Carolina legislators have attempted to amend the state’s drinking age laws. In 2008, a former South Carolina State Rep. Fletcher Smith introduced a bill to reduce the drinking age in the state from 21 to 18 for all military service members, according to CBS News. That bill did not pass.