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South Carolina Legislation Meeting


TinSparrow
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Function: adjective

1 : different or distinct from the one first considered <the same scene viewed from another angle>

2 : some other <do it another time>

3 : being one more in addition to one or more of the same kind <have another piece of pie> 

 

Normally statutory interpretation will consider all definitions. If they get to that to begin with. Often plain language is used before the dictionary. Regardless, if it goes there then often all is considered and then it includes "another location" whether geocache or not. But the main point is to urge the House to not adopt this thing. Hopefully based on caching, but also if it is overbroad.

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I don't mean to be argumentative but in the context of the sentence if it were #3 (same kind) the sentence would not make sense…

 

2) 'Geocaching' means the activity of participants using a global positioning system (GPS) device to locate the geocache or another "geocache".

 

and you are correct when you said that they can choose when they arrest you! The dude with the gun and badge gets to pick first, then a judge gets his/her cut at it...by then you don't care, you just want your GPS to take you home...

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I don't mean to be argumentative but in the context of the sentence if it were #3 (same kind) the sentence would not make sense…

 

2) 'Geocaching' means the activity of participants using a global positioning system (GPS) device to locate the geocache or another "geocache".

 

and you are correct when you said that they can choose when they arrest you! The dude with the gun and badge gets to pick first, then a judge gets his/her cut at it...by then you don't care, you just want your GPS to take you home...

Commissar, good use of replacement to clarify.

 

And it is ok to be argumentative if you have an understanding of the topic, don't offer useless info, and don't personally attack.

 

So maybe as worded they will intrepret as #1.

Let's just try to stay within reason of what would most likely they would enforce..ok?

 

I keep hoping it will all die and we can get back to caching.

 

Kenneth

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You have to take a look at the intent of "...or another specific location" to see what they were trying to do.

 

As others have mentioned, "they" are watching and when everyone was talking about simply creating offsets and such, they figured they'd have to close that loophole. How else were they--who don't know much about that which they are trying to limit--would word it? They figure if they ban trying to find any specified location in those areas, they'd have it covered. And they do.

 

Unfortunately, the blanket is much too wide. It shows they not only don't know much about geocaching, but GPS use in general. I sent out an email to each of the sponsors of the bill letting them know how the admendment was being interpreted and the only person to respond back was Mr. Scarborough with "I am sorry but you are wrong in your interpretation of the bill." I asked that he clarify his statement and how was it supposed to be interpreted, but as of yet, I've not received a response.

 

Basically, the intent of the change was to eliminate virts and virt stages. Probably didn't know what a virt is, so what do you expect?

 

It's not that they don't want a cache there. They don't want you or me there.

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I have my fingers crossed also, because it would be a wonderful b-day gift today if this thing does not pass. Cause I am coming up on a year of being a geocacher and without this wonderful hobby I never would have gone to see some of the places I have seen, like the 5 mile hike along the Palmetto Trail, or the little known town outside of Camden.

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Maybe someone should get in touch with the State Archeologist. If this law passes, I think the State would have to mark the exact boundary of each and every known archeological site (which that want to keep secret so the sites will not be pilfered). If the sites are not marked, I think they would have to provide all the details on the sites to everyone that submitted a Freedom of Information Request for the site locations.

 

Either way, they would have to give out the information if requested. They cannot make it crime if they refuse to let you know where it is illegal geocache. Can they?

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I have not received any replies, other than automated ones, to the 6 letters I sent. But I didn't expect to since I am not a resident of SC (my parents are).

 

The wording on the bill is generalized enough that it does apply to any use of a GPS device to find a location. And due to misperceptions of our hobby the way it is, that's enough of a generalization that anyone who uses a GPS should be concerned. It's a large loophole, Kenneth.

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I'm not sure if this has been pointed out yet here or not. The latest complete version of this bill was posted yesterday the the South Carolina Statehouse Website. This version is NOT different from the previous version, it's just that it has the amended text folded in to the whole. The document can be found here:

 

H 3777 as of April 27, 2005

 

Thanks to everyone for your support.

Edited by TinSparrow
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While I think any steps down this road should be resisted and government and land-managers enlightened in order to prevent the spread of knee-jerk reactionist legislation, I have to wonder how much all this really matters.

 

In this thread this bill is presented as the end of geocaching in SC - but is it really?

 

How much total land are we really likely to lose - 5% of the state's land?

 

Less that 3% of this nation's lands are designated wilderness, yet I've heard much of this the-sky-is-falling panic-filled rhetoric whenever "the Government" attempts to regulate it...despite the fact that 97% of the country is available!

 

Further, despite the bill's proponents having a, perhaps deliberately, muddled description of our game and activities they do have a point - permission IS required and I seriously doubt that even 10% of our hides truly have anyones permission!

 

We do promise to police ourselves, but have no punishment or enforcement mechanism beside archiving a cache...and that is done reluctantly.

 

We do promise to remove trouble caches, but these folks have a long string of proofs that we did not in fact respond, even when asked repeatedly.

 

I think that we as geocachers have to take a hard look at our actions as individuals and as a whole to see if our own behavior isn't at the heart of this kind of resistance.

 

Yes, I think this bill's proponents are going too far, but wasn't it our actions that spurred them into motion?

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I sent e-mails to all of the sponsors of the bill (except Ceips... seemed like a waste of time based on other posts) and my own representative and senator. I got an e-mail back from my senator who stated that he has some problems with the bill, but also mentioned some "vandalism" had occurred at a cemetery in the lower part of our state. Of the e-mails sent to reps in the house, I got two auto-replies and one personal note from one of the sponsors stating that he would forward my e-mail to other members. This whole thing has really opened my eyes to the process of law-making in our state. We have WAY to many people that list their occupation as full time legislators. If legislator is the only job that you have, maybe bills like House 3777 make more sense.

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While I think any steps down this road should be resisted and government and land-managers enlightened in order to prevent the spread of knee-jerk reactionist legislation, I have to wonder how much all this really matters.

 

In this thread this bill is presented as the end of geocaching in SC - but is it really?

 

How much total land are we really likely to lose - 5% of the state's land?

 

Less that 3% of this nation's lands are designated wilderness, yet I've heard much of this the-sky-is-falling panic-filled rhetoric whenever "the Government" attempts to regulate it...despite the fact that 97% of the country is available!

 

Further, despite the bill's proponents having a, perhaps deliberately, muddled description of our game and activities they do have a point - permission IS required and I seriously doubt that even 10% of our hides truly have anyones permission!

 

We do promise to police ourselves, but have no punishment or enforcement mechanism beside archiving a cache...and that is done reluctantly.

 

We do promise to remove trouble caches, but these folks have a long string of proofs that we did not in fact respond, even when asked repeatedly.

 

I think that we as geocachers have to take a hard look at our actions as individuals and as a whole to see if our own behavior isn't at the heart of this kind of resistance.

 

Yes, I think this bill's proponents are going too far, but wasn't it our actions that spurred them into motion?

I am shocked that you haven't been flamed yet for this post. Last one I left didn't take 2 hours.

 

We don't do a good job of setting a standard and then living with it. If it means that someone is no longer allowed to list caches on this site, it means that they will move to Navicache and so TPTB don't have any incentive to hold to a standard.

 

If you add in the crowd that screams "Let me play the game my way", you have perfect cover for TPTB.

 

I agree with you that we either do a better job controlling ourselves or others will do it for us.

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Alabama, I somewhat agree with you. However, 5% of a states land can be quite a bit. If you happen to live in that 5%, then you'll likely ave to drive 40 or even 50 miles to get to the nearest cache.

 

Also, as I think your statement are valid. We kind of did bring this on ourselves. However, trespassing laws are already on the books. Whether you think we deserve this new scrutiny or not, you have to admit that the new regulations are useless.

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Yes, I think this bill's proponents are going too far, but wasn't it our actions that spurred them into motion?

What exactly is it that geocachers have done? A couple of inappropriate posts in an obscure forum? They keep mentioning vandalism, but I have not heard of any vandalism that was tied to geocaching. My understanding (please correct me if I am wrong) is that the cache in question was removed once an objection was raised. This bill would not be the end of geocaching in SC, but it would cripple users in some areas (ex. Charleston) because of the amount of state historic properties and the amount of (unknown) archeological sites. Could we still use historical markers as virtual stages in multi-stage caches? There are too many questions because of the ridiculous wording of the bill. If this were limited to cemeteries I don't think there would be as many arguments.

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I agree with you that we either do a better job controlling ourselves or others will do it for us.

 

Yes, I think this bill's proponents are going too far, but wasn't it our actions that spurred them into motion?

 

What actions? I still haven't seen any evidence of "out of control geoachers" bringing this on. What I see is a case built on lies, things taken out of context and twisted and extremely minor breaches of etiquitte blown way out of proportion.

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not only is there no proof of ANY vandalism, Ms. Ceips herself yesterday was asked point blank about any vandalism and reluctantly said herself that there has been no vandalism at all that she can point to as being the cause. Her immediate defense to that of course was she is trying to prevent it. Personally i feel thats already covered under the current vandalism laws. I do not break laws. I am respectful to places i go. Why create a haphazard law just to make something i do legally and respectfully with my children, illegal? Its not about the amount of area or the specific places, its about infringing on my rights as a basic american to use my GPS to explore PUBLIC places. If someone wants to tell me that this place is cool and give me the coordinates so i can teach my kids about the history of the area, and i so choose to use my GPS to get me there, then why should someone tell me i can't. I am sure there could have been someone who did not respect the laws, but those people are in every crowd. Maybe we should make it illegal to attend basketball games since they tend to result in figthing. Knee jerk reaction do nothing to improve society but rather take away more of our freedom. If it starts at 5% today, where will it end?

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Maybe someone should get in touch with the State Archeologist. If this law passes, I think the State would have to mark the exact boundary of each and every known archeological site (which that want to keep secret so the sites will not be pilfered). If the sites are not marked, I think they would have to provide all the details on the sites to everyone that submitted a Freedom of Information Request for the site locations.

 

Either way, they would have to give out the information if requested. They cannot make it crime if they refuse to let you know where it is illegal geocache. Can they?

Terracachers.org will do that. I was hoping to talk to CR first. The fight to kill the bill should continue but it's also time to plan on how to best comply with the bill should it become law.

 

There are only so many outcome to a bill that for all intents and purposes bans containers in specific locations. None of them are good for the mission of the SHPO and State Archaeologist. However until they actually talk to geocachers about complying with the law I'm not sure they are going to see real impacts. Collecting information on all areas covered under the law and making it public for geocachers to use to comply, is a very real way to cope with the law.

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Alabama, I somewhat agree with you. However, 5% of a states land can be quite a bit. If you happen to live in that 5%, then you'll likely ave to drive 40 or even 50 miles to get to the nearest cache.

 

Also, as I think your statement are valid. We kind of did bring this on ourselves. However, trespassing laws are already on the books. Whether you think we deserve this new scrutiny or not, you have to admit that the new regulations are useless.

That 5% will be concentrated in where you live work and play. What people like now, they liked back then.

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Yes, I think this bill's proponents are going too far, but wasn't it our actions that spurred them into motion?

No. They had vandalism in their cemetery. Because they couldn't make or find anyone responsible for the damage that occurred, they decided that it was naturally the result of geocachers. By taking sentences in cache logs out of context and scouting for photos that are not even in the state of SC, they created support for their argument. Now, I was never good at logic, ven diagrams and all that stuff, but even I can see that their conclusion is rather faulted.

Edited by AtlantaGal
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The legislation may be debated and voted on today. Here is what I sent the members of the Charleston County House Legislative Delegation Yesterday.

 

Opposition to SC House, Bill 3777

 

I have voted in every election available to me since 1978. I am a licensed attorney practicing in the State of South Carolina and own a home in Mt. Pleasant. I currently manage and maintain six geocaches in Mt. Pleasant. 75% of the visits to the caches I maintain are by tourists. You can check the caches I am involved with by going to www.geocaching.com and searching for caches in zip 29464. All my caches have the word “I’On” in there name except for one at Patriot’s Point, named Hog Island Upgrade.

 

I would ask that you vote against the Geocaching legislation pending in the SC House, House Bill 3777.

 

The statute as written is dangerously vague. It criminalizes using GPS to locate a point on a historic site without the owner’s approval. As written, that would make it illegal for ships to use their satellite navigation to enter Charleston harbor since they pass through part of the Ft. Sumter National monument, which includes an official protected zone extending into the harbor around the fort and parts of the main channel.

 

It would also prohibit use of GPS in most of downtown Charleston, South of Broad Street, nearly all of which, including public streets, is part of a National Historic Landmark District.

 

A tourist could be arrested, prosecuted and convicted for using his car navigation system to find the battery in Downtown Charleston under this law.

 

As a practical matter, police will simply arrest people for possession of a GPS unit in these locations, on a selective basis when it suits there purposes.

 

If someone is actually arrested under this law, it will persuade hundreds, possibly thousands of potential visitors to avoid the state. Visits to geocaches in your district, most of which were by tourists, have already fallen off drastically.

 

I have been in touch with the President and Chief Legal Officer of the Garmin Corporation and Thales Navigations (Maker of Magellen GPS equipment) they are very concerned about the impact of this legislation on perfectly appropriate activity using GPS that has nothing to do with Geocaching. I believe they will be forced to place warnings in their users manuals about this law, which will certainly discourage many people from visiting SC.

 

Federal Law will require most Cell Phones to be equipped with a GPS receiver to enable more efficient Police response to emergency calls. Currently it is difficult to pinpoint a cellular calls location so police can find the location of a fire, crime or emergency. This act would apparently criminalize using the phone to transmit your location to the police (which happens automatically) if you happen to be in a graveyard, historic site or archeological site. I believe it fails to include an exception allowing the police to use their GPS navigation to find the location as well. I suppose the police could request permission from the owner of every historic site in the state, for each department and service, to use GPS to respond to emergency calls on their property. How the victim is going to have time to get permission, I do not know.

 

This is stupid, nanny state legislation. Laws already on the books about vandalism, graveyards, trespassing and archeological sites are more than sufficient to deal with the problems.

 

If there is a specific problem with African American graveyards, why doesn’t someone clean them up and fence them? The one at Remley’s Point is terribly neglected. I had been planning to put a geocache there to raise awareness of that threatened graveyard. Had it ever been threatened with being bulldozed for development, I could have contacted all the geocachers who visited it for help preserving it.

 

As it is, all caches have been removed from all graveyards in SC. The Remley’s Point graveyard has no legal owner and thus no cache can be placed there. I will leave it to others to try to figure out how to preserve it.

 

This law makes as much sense as outlawing shovels to prevent grave robbing.

 

William Hamilton

Attorney at Law, Newspaper Columnist, Geocacher

32 Sowell St.

I’On Village

Mt. Pleasant, SC

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How much total land are we really likely to lose - 5% of the state's land?

5% of the state land... don't know if that's accurate. if all of charleston is designated as "historic" it seems like that would be a higher percentage. plus, it's not a percentage of *all* land, but public land. really, i wonder how much publicly available land will there be?

 

also, if it is required to put up "no trespassing" signs to keep people from breaking that law, wouldn't it follow that you'd have to put up "no geocaching" signs to keep people from engaging in that activity? and for that matter, you still wouldn't be stopping non-geocachers from trespassing. stupid. why create more laws if you don't/can't enforce the ones already on the books?

if you don't know who's vandalized a cemetery, quit blaming it on people with doctored up accusations. grrr!!

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I agree with you that we either do a better job controlling ourselves or others will do it for us.

 

Yes, I think this bill's proponents are going too far, but wasn't it our actions that spurred them into motion?

 

What actions? I still haven't seen any evidence of "out of control geoachers" bringing this on. What I see is a case built on lies, things taken out of context and twisted and extremely minor breaches of etiquitte blown way out of proportion.

The degree of the "minor indescretion" depends on whether your grandfather is buried in that cemetary or not. Obviously the caretakers for the cemetaries in question, and a number of the neighbors testified in support of the bill, they have to be more than "minorly" upset. No one is going to go to that much trouble for a couple of posts in an "obscure forum".

 

We probably should be rethinking cemetary caches in general. Better to walk the extra distance to go well around the rattlesnake than to step close and invite its bite. Certainly sounds like its rattling in SC.

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Keeo in mind that this is not just about vandalism. This is also about how the sponsors feel that it is disrespectful to play a "game" in a cemetary.

From what I understand there was some relics that were taken and or broken in the graveyards that started all this and while they were assessing the damage a micro was found and here we are a YEAR later. So yeah there could have been vandilism but no proof it was a cacher was every produced.

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Better to walk the extra distance to go well around the rattlesnake than to step close and invite its bite.  Certainly sounds like its rattling in SC.

I would rather cut the head off of the snake.

 

By the way, if anyone else is watching the House in action today, Bill 3777 is not the only poorly written bill or amendment. And just how many people need to be introduced? These people work for 6 months ... I think maybe we should cut their salaries in half and let them get their "work" done in three months. Maybe that would keep the bills focused on what is needed, not a bunch a knee-jerk legislation.

 

Had to add "" to the word work.

Edited by Cole Hard-cachers
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Keeo in mind that this is not just about vandalism. This is also about how the sponsors feel that it is disrespectful to play a "game" in a cemetary.

Even if it IS disrespectful (which I do not believe), does it warrant a law? Are we now legislating respect?

I mentioned as it is the viewpoint of the sponsors of the bill and the local citizens who have pushed for it. I would think that there are more than enough laws already exsisting in SC to cover tresspassing, vandalism, and looting archeological sites to deal with any issues that they may have. All SC needs to do is enforce them.

 

I agree that one of the cards being played by the sponsors is to legislate respect and if we are going to legislate that than I have a bill of my own.

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The degree of the "minor indescretion" depends on whether your grandfather is buried in that cemetary or not.

That is just one point of view - I know for a fact that my grandmother didn't want anybody ever being upset or crying over her death or gravestone. I imagine she looks down and smiles at all the games I play. What is desrespectful is overgrown, fallen over faded metal markers I saw near the last cemetary cache I visted. I took the time to straighten some of them out and clean away some weeds. The markers are just that - a marker of a once alive person. What made them special isn't in the cemetary.

 

Cemetaries are full of history. The books are the information on the markers.

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I have not received any replies, other than automated ones, to the 6 letters I sent. But I didn't expect to since I am not a resident of SC (my parents are).

 

The wording on the bill is generalized enough that it does apply to any use of a GPS device to find a location. And due to misperceptions of our hobby the way it is, that's enough of a generalization that anyone who uses a GPS should be concerned. It's a large loophole, Kenneth.

No people-behind-the-keyboard replies to me either.

It's big, but not big enough to arrest officials doing their jobs.

 

Kenneth

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:lol: Why, are they (The Anti-fun league), wasting so much time on this stupid bill, we already have a bill for destroying cemetary or gravesites, and yet these laws are not enforced, take Del Webb's Sun city in bluffton, I recall something about found bones and grave stones when they were excavating. If they had geo-cachers back then maybe we would of saved some of those unknown or forgotten cemetarys. Like, now I see the only people going into a gravesite is either a grave robber or a geo cacher, thats what the bill is about, they dont' want grave robbers in the sites (where there is already a law), and by pushing this law they don't want us there because we might promote some crazy person to go grave robbing. You get what I'm saying. I stayed up last nite trying to catch the House, but I feel asleep. Keep praying.
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