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TinSparrow

South Carolina Legislation Meeting

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Just curious as to what extent the local media is covering this issue? Is it brought up on the nightly news?

Any chance a "geo-rep" could talk to someone and get the facts out there? "Painting a headstone" sounds awful - and it's even worse that it's not true.

 

-hellifiknow

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I hope your tupperware doesn't say "geocaching" on it! :laughing:

"No... really, officer. I label all my leftovers that way. You see... it's a running joke... food is in the fridge so long it... err... becomes uhhh... geological material? Get it? Huh? Hey - what's with the pepper spray?!"

 

:unsure:

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I missed the church thing but it sounds like a left hand right hand thing. You ask one person they say yes, but don't let everyone else know about the cache. Then someone else askes about a cache and the person they talk to is clueless. It's not their fault but it can give a false impression of a lack of permission.

 

You would actually have to do one heck of a lot of legwork to fine the full truth.

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As a result of all of this grave hooplah (pardon the pun), I have decided on how I shall be "processed" when my time comes. I had once considered being cremated and having my ashes spread over DisneyWorld from a high-flying plane. But, now, I know what I will have done...

 

I will be sent back to my hometown in South Carolina and be buried in a cemetary near the home where I grew up. I will have a rather large, reinforced concrete grave marker. The front of it will display my birthname, date of birth, date of death, and perhaps some witticism or comment I deem appropriate.

 

The back of the structure will have my geocaching name, the words "Official Geocaching.com Game Piece" and the phrase "You Found It!", all laser engraved in stone. There will also be a medium-sized steel door, hinged on one side and with a water-tight seal and a T-shaped handle. This is for all the swag, TB's and such.

 

It may be rapidly archived (or never approved) but I will purchase a domain name and web hosting for decades to come and, as long as people are willing to put a link to it in the forums once in a while, there will always be a chance to Geocache in SC graveyard.

 

Woo-hoo! Lovin' it!

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Just curious as to what extent the local media is covering this issue?  Is it brought up on the nightly news?

Any chance a "geo-rep" could talk to someone and get the facts out there?

Actually, this seems like a plausible tactic. If anyone has any contacts in radio, TV or newspaper, it certainly wouldn't hurt to call them and give them a good story. :laughing::unsure:

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The good thing is that nowhere in the bill is it mentioned that placing a geocache in a cemetery would be illegal. This is a good thing since the caches can still be listed without violating any laws.

 

Additionally, no laws would be broken if the geocache is located using the "x marks the spot" method on a map, provided no directions are included with the map.

 

Just leave your GPS at home and bump the difficulty up a star :unsure:

Edited by cachew nut

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I was wondering if my cache in Ridgeland is allowed because you don't use a GPS in the historical sites http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_detai...8a-381b3813ab78 its more like looking around town to find certain things. If this illegal please tell me. I might just quit this hobby, and take up golf.

Looks ok as long as you don't put a stamp in the cache. I think caches should be ok if they are listed with the words "No stamps in this geocache".

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I have a real life question, ok " who's going to enforce this law", I see no sheriff department sending out cops to arrest someone who put a cache on a historic spot, and basically is this going to be a "local" law, if so read if you are found in a cemetary "trespasing laws" the fine in jasper county is 250 dollars, with geocaching a state law it's 100 dollars Humm. I say again whos going to enforce it , is rep. cieps going to monitor all new caches ???, and call the cops on us.

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Looks ok as long as you don't put a stamp in the cache.

Glancing at the latest wording of the bill suggests the following:

 

If one group of people were to start using GPS devices to find stamp pads with which to stamp their notebooks it would seem to be legal - maybe they could call the activity "Geoboxing." And if another group of people were to start using riddles as directions to find tupperware (and ammo boxes, etc.) hidden with McToys inside that would also be legal - maybe they could call it "Lettercaching."

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I'm calling the activity where I'm using a GPS receiver to find hidden containers and logging the logbook with the name geokätköily. Would that be illegal in South Carolina, should the bill be passed? :unsure:

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No civil authority will enforce this law. I suspect this is a stepping stone to a complete ban.

 

If it passes into law, she could go around and trump up more lies to garner support for more laws. "See, these folks are breaking the law! We need to stop them!"

 

The fact we are doing nothing wrong means nothing.

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I wonder what would happen if everyone (hundreds or thousands) contacted the State Archeologists’ Office any made the following request:

 

I would like a listing of every known archaeological site, including underwater sites, for the state of South Carolina. Due to South Carolina House Bill H.3777, I will need the exact coordinates, in longitude and latitude, of the center of each site along with the exact boundaries of each site. It is my intent to publish detailed maps on the Internet showing the location and boundary of all sites in South Carolina. These maps will be used to aid the General Public in complying with this proposed law. This information will be required by everyone in order to comply with the new law.

Excellent idea. And it could be combined with Riverchaser's point about paddlers spending their $$$ locally. (BTW, does anyone else find it slightly weird that a Republican representative is using as an argument the fact that someone is, gasp, making money out of Geocaching ? Has the GOP gone all hippy ?)

 

So, I'd word the letter a bit differently - don't say you're going to put the info on the Internet, they'll say "talk to the other guys who said that", and/or "no you can't, it's confidential". Stick to the mighty dollar:

 

"I would like a listing of every known archaeological site, including underwater sites, for the state of South Carolina. Due to South Carolina House Bill H.3777, I will need the exact coordinates, in longitude and latitude, of the center of each site along with the exact boundaries of each site. It is my intention to spend two months visiting and geocaching in your great state, during which I anticipate that I, my wife, and our nine children, will spend around $1,200 per day on food, lodging, and sundry expenses. However, since I naturally wish to remain in compliance with all state laws, I need this information in order to undertake this trip." :unsure:

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Is there anywhere that all this information has been summarized? As the President of the New York Geocaching Organization, I am interested in seeing what challenges other States are facing. However reading through the 1400 posts to this forum thread is a rather daunting task.

 

Thanks.

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Well, folks, I've just been informed the third reading is a mere formality.

 

Next stop, the Senate.

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Well, folks, I've just been informed the third reading is a mere formality.

Where did you hear this from? I thought I read somewhere that it was still possible to discuss / kill a bill on the third reading (which is why there is a third reading ...) though it's harder to get it amended.

 

Of course, I may be wrong ...

 

ALSO ...

 

I had a hard time reading the board when everybody was voting. Is there a published list somewhere of who voted for/against this bill yesterday?

Edited by RandLD

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they say you can't fight city hall, well I wish you could have someone from the geocachers side to speak on this bill, is ms. cieps going to be in the senate pushing these lies to our senators?? I should just calm down, I live 15 miles from Savannah, GA and with all the Historic caches there, I'll just say skip SC and head on over to georgia. Is this bad !!? " question where are the so called indian mounds in SC. I'm 1/16 Ojibwa indian. :unsure:

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In case there is confusion, I THINK, but am having hard time confirming, that an amended bill is the most recent amendment passed. So I think this bill is as amended by Ceips in amendment 6 and does not include the amendment 4 previously passed.

Correct. They passed ammendment #4, then Ceips stepped up and brought out ammendment #6. Her ammendment #6 passed after she read aloud the letter from the Jewish cemetery. Her ammendment #6 is what is on the bill now and if unchanged will eventually go to the Senate.

 

I think I'm right on this.

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Well, folks, I've just been informed the third reading is a mere formality.

 

Next stop, the Senate.

Did that come from Representative Garry? I got a letter stating that from him, but the letter also made it clear that my own letter was not carefully read and it referenced the bill as being amended per Hagood's amenment instead of Ceips amendment. Because of the inacurracies, I gave the formality statement much less weight. However, I do think this thing will pass and go to the Senate in one form or another and that a well organized and planned campaign to stop the bill or get the Senate to amend it would be well advised.

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Does anyone know why trespassing laws would not apply to cemeteries? Here are most of the trespass laws that could be applied directly or with MINOR tweaking. I am not a lawyer or lawmaker so please help me understand this. I think that SECTION 16-11-620 below is the law that seems to cover this issue (or does this just deal with a residence?).

 

SECTION 16-11-640. Unlawful entry into enclosed places. [sC ST SEC 16-11-640]

 

It shall be unlawful for any person not an occupant, owner or invitee to enter any private property enclosed by walls or fences with closed gates between the hours of six P.M. and six A.M. The provisions of this section shall not apply to any justifiable emergency entry or to premises which are not posted with clearly visible signs prohibiting trespass upon the enclosed premises. The provisions of this section are supplemental to existing law relating to trespass and punishment therefor. Any person who violates the provisions of this section shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction shall be fined not less than twenty-five dollars nor more than two hundred dollars or imprisoned for not more than thirty days.

 

SECTION 16-11-600. Entry on another's pasture or other lands after notice; posting notice. [sC ST SEC 16-11-600]

 

Every entry upon the lands of another where any horse, mule, cow, hog or any other livestock is pastured, or any other lands of another, after notice from the owner or tenant prohibiting such entry, shall be a misdemeanor and be punished by a fine not to exceed one hundred dollars, or by imprisonment with hard labor on the public works of the county for not exceeding thirty days. When any owner or tenant of any lands shall post a notice in four conspicuous places on the borders of such land prohibiting entry thereon, a proof of the posting shall be deemed and taken as notice conclusive against the person making entry, as aforesaid, for the purpose of trespassing.

 

SECTION 16-11-610. Entry on another's lands for various purposes without permission. [sC ST SEC 16-11-610]

 

Any person entering upon the lands of another for the purpose of hunting, fishing, trapping, netting; for gathering fruit, wild flowers, cultivated flowers, shrubbery, straw, turf, vegetables or herbs; or for cutting timber on such land, without the consent of the owner or manager, shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction shall, for a first offense, be fined not more than two hundred dollars or imprisoned for not more than thirty days, for a second offense, be fined not less than one hundred dollars nor more than two hundred dollars or imprisoned for not more than thirty days and, for a third or subsequent offense, be fined not less than five hundred dollars nor more than one thousand dollars or imprisoned for not more than six months or both. A first or second offense prosecution resulting in a conviction shall be reported by the magistrate or city recorder hearing the case to the communications and records division of the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division which shall keep a record of such conviction so that any law enforcement agency may inquire into whether or not a defendant has a prior record. Only those offenses which occurred within a period of ten years, including and immediately preceding the date of the last offense, shall constitute prior offenses within the meaning of this section.

 

SECTION 16-11-620. Entering premises after warning or refusing to leave on request; jurisdiction and enforcement. [sC ST SEC 16-11-620]

 

Any person who, without legal cause or good excuse, enters into the dwelling house, place of business, or on the premises of another person after having been warned not to do so or any person who, having entered into the dwelling house, place of business, or on the premises of another person without having been warned fails and refuses, without good cause or good excuse, to leave immediately upon being ordered or requested to do so by the person in possession or his agent or representative shall, on conviction, be fined not more than two hundred dollars or be imprisoned for not more than thirty days.

 

All municipal courts of this State as well as those of magistrates may try and determine criminal cases involving violations of this section occurring within the respective limits of such municipalities and magisterial districts. All peace officers of the State and its subdivisions shall enforce the provisions hereof within their respective jurisdictions.

 

The provisions of this section shall be construed as being in addition to, and not as superseding, any other statutes of the State relating to trespass or entry on lands of another.

 

SECTION 15-67-610. Duty of magistrate in case of trespass. [sC ST SEC 15-67-610]

 

If any person shall have gone into or shall hereafter go into possession of any lands or tenements of another without his consent or without warrant of law, the owner of the land so trespassed upon may apply to any magistrate to serve a notice on such trespasser to quit the premises, and if, after the expiration of five days from the personal service of such notice, such trespasser refuses or neglects to quit then such magistrate shall issue his warrant to any sheriff or constable requiring him forthwith to eject such trespasser, using such force as may be necessary.

Edited by Cole Hard-cachers

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Does SC have a way for people to see who has given money to a particular person's campaign?

 

It might be interesting to check the people that sponsored this "bill" and see if they have or will be getting money from developers or others that would benefit from having old cemeteries drop off the radar of people's memories.

 

For me there is just somethig that is not feeling right about this bill and the level of argument that some people are showing to get this through. Come on the person that introduced it has a lot of work to do before she could even qualify to be called a backbencher. And she seems to really have sunk her teeth into this for some reason. I am just not getting it. For us this might be a big issue but I can't get my mind around why this is such a big deal for some of these people. Let alone how poorly thought out and vague the bill is. Is there some point here that I am missing?

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Better start working on the Senate. The bill just passed the House.

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Info on Ceips at link below .... other state legislator info (all states) also here ... great website! Clink on link for 2004 or 2003 to see Financial Disclosure Filings

 

 

Ceips info from Center for Public Integrity

Thanks that is a good start. Looks like the usual suspects, trial lawyers, drug companies, manufactured housing interests, etc.

 

Anybody have anything on campaign donations?

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I do not live in SC but had planned on visiting, in light of this bill I am changing my mind. Could someone give me ONE email address to send my reasons for my decision about visiting and spending any money in SC to? I'm not going to write numerous emails to numerous people about this but I would like to write one email to one person to let them know of my displeasure and intention to spend my money elsewhere should this bill become law. I would like to send this where it would do the most good, I have looked at the list of email addresses of the house and senate of SC and can find no one that appears any better than the others.

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Is there anywhere that all this information has been summarized?  As the President of the New York Geocaching Organization, I am interested in seeing what challenges other States are facing.  However reading through the 1400 posts to this forum thread is a rather daunting task.

 

Thanks.

1. There was a problem with vandalism and desecration of area cemeteries.

 

2. Geocachers were found using cemeteries and some people associated them with the vandalism and contacted Mrs. Ceips.

 

3. Mrs. Ceips claims to have attempted to contacted Geocaching.com and was ignored. Geocaching.com says they have no record of her contact.

 

4. Mrs. Ceips begins investigation into geocaching, then crafts H 3777.

 

5. Bill goes before committee. Local geocachers attend meeting to give their side. They are hit with photos and log entries from geocachers documenting alleged abuses on the part of geocachers. Local geocachers are broadsided by this and condemn their fellow geocachers for the "damning photos" and logs in front of the committee.

 

6. Geocachers investigating the logs and photos discovered that most were not even taken at cemeteries in SC. One was even taken in a geocacher's living room. The most "damning" photo was a geocacher posing in front of a headstone with his GPS and the caption "The money shot".

 

Log entries were found to be incomplete and taken out of context to intentionally to mislead the committee. For example, one focused on a geocacher mentioning "clearing his bladder" to make it look like he urinated in the cemetery when he in fact did not. Another highlighted a log that said "there should be a cache in every cemetery", but the rest of the sentence that said , "so we can learn about our rich history" was eliminated.

 

There were some outright lies being spouted about geocachers smearing paint on tombstones.

 

After months of intensive investigation, the worst offense Mrs Ceips could come up with was a photo of a man posing next to a head stone with the caption, "The Money Shot".

 

7. Despite the fact that there was not one documented incident of geocachers vandalizing or otherwise damaging cemeteries, the bill was adopted and passed on to the full House. Heck, even the geocachers at the hearing agreed that these "abuses " were terrible, so why not.

 

8. Geocachers embarked on a letter writing campaign to educate the legislators about the positives of geocaching.

 

9. It didn't work.

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Could someone give me ONE email address to send my reasons for my decision about visiting and spending any money in SC to? I'm not going to write numerous emails to numerous people about this but I would like to write one email to one person to let them know of my displeasure and intention to spend my money elsewhere should this bill become law.

You might also consider writing to the representative for the area you had planned to visit. Express your displeasure with this piece of legislation and tell them why you are not spending your money in SC. Also the SC tourism board would love to hear what you have to say.

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So now if you would kindly use the above link to send a message from all across the world that we don't appreciate being treated this way.

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Does anyone know why trespassing laws would not apply to cemeteries? ...

ecause they invite the public is a good reason the trespassing laws don't apply. If they chose to exclude the public then relatives, historians, and people interested in history would go up in arms over it. Then taxpayers who notice they pay tax on a cemetery would want to know why they are paying for something they have no access to and therefore no reason to support.

 

If they did try to enforce it, that people have been visiting cemeteries for hundreds of years in some cases would establish an access easement should anyone care to force the issue

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Thanks for the link! FYI, here's a copy of my E-mail to them.

 

"Hello. I'm writing to express my dismay at the passing of bill H 3777 (banning of geocaching in certain locations) by the South Carolina legislature today and to inform whomever it may concern that this passing will heavily bias my vacation plans away from South Carolina. I'm also aware of many other people who feel the same way that I do and will avoid your state if this ill-conceived bill is made into law. I urge you to use whatever influence you have to help get this bill stopped in the state Senate, before it has a considerable negative effect on your state tourism. Thank you for your time."

 

Mike

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...."Mrs. (My real name):

 

Thank you for our e-mail.  Please understand that our cemeteries are often

abused by those with far worse motives than you and for this reason we

cannot stand to have them used for any more than what they are intended

for:  a place for our loved ones to rest in peace and for them to serve as

a lasting memory for us.

 

Your understanding is appreciated.

 

David Haller"...

If the only purpose is to provide rest and memories then you do not need graveyards. You can use a simple vault and efficietly use the interior space by placing bodies on shelves with minimal separation. A small plaque is all you need to mark their passing.

 

Graveyards serve another purpose and that purpose isn't the rest of the dead, it's for the living. Taking someone to a graveyard is nothing more than sharing that special purpose they serve. We all react to death differently but we all think about it when we visit a graveyard. That's a small part of their purpose.

 

Take a trail. It's simple but it's not exclusive. ATV's Horses, Mountain Bikes, Walkers, Geocachers, Hunters and so on use that trail. We have to share because there isn't enough space to be exclusive.

 

Graveyards are not any different. Yes people morn. Others jog in peace and enjoy the silence. Others mow the lawn. Some read. Even graveyards have multiple uses. One local one has art carved into the stumps of trees. How can you enjoy that Art if you are not led to it or told its there? This same graveyard has a non denominational chapel that the public can use for events and services. If Sissy had not said anything about the custom of placing a stone I would not have known that's what it means and she would not of known that to share without her visit.

 

As a final thought if a geocache could truly harm a cemetary then I guess I don't understand how removing them entirely is allowed. The scale is so vastly different.

RK shouldn't be telling the Jewish people what to use there cemetaries for. In the Jewish religion a cemetary is a solemn place "for our loved ones to rest in peace and for them to serve as a lasting memory for us." as Mr. Heller says. Jews are buried in the ground and not in vaults because of tradition and Jewish Law. RK can play games in his Christian/secular cemetary.

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Here's what I think is the real reasoning behind this mess, from what I understand from previous posts and other sources:

 

There are some small communities in the Beaufort area that have cemeteries. These aren't tourist areas or areas that are used to outside visitors coming by. Somehow, someone found out about these and placed Geocaches in them. This drew some unwanted publicity and unwelcome visitors to the area. The visitors were not breaking any laws, they were not trespassing or vandalizing the cemeteries, they were just visiting.

 

It drew some suspicions because these communities were predominantly black, and many of the new visitors were white, often younger (teenage and young adult) white people who don't generally come around these communities. This made the locals uneasy. (And I'm sure if the shoe was on the other foot, it would make a predominantly white neighborhood uneasy to have young black men and women coming around their area for "no good reason.") It didn't help matters any that these people were acting suspicious, possibly coming out at night, and supposedly playing some sort of secret game that nobody knew about.

 

Someone does some research and finds out that the game is legit, so there's no legal way to get these unwanted visitors to leave. So they do some more research to try to find evidence that geocachers are a menace. Then, one or more of the cemeteries are vandalized. Not by geocachers, but that doesn't matter. They find some photos and logs of geocachers, misconstrue them, and present the idea that we're troublemakers. "Maybe 'cachers didn't vandalize these particular cemeteries, but look what they did over here!"

 

More lies/misinformation, and the legislature buys this. A bill gets drawn up, (somewhere along the lines Ceips decides it's not enough to stop at cemeteries, so she adds historical and archaeological areas), emotions get played, and next thing you know this bill gets passed in the house and handed to the Senate.

 

I think Ceips initially had good intentions -- her people didn't want to have people visiting their communities uninvited, and she wanted to help them out. I just think it got out of hand somewhere along the way.

 

That's what it looks like to me. Does it make sense?

 

Now, the question is, how do we go about counteracting this before it gets passed in the Senate, too?

 

<Edit -- Corrected some typos ...>

Edited by RandLD

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I was wondering if my cache in Ridgeland is allowed because you don't use a GPS  in the historical sites http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_detai...8a-381b3813ab78 its more like looking around town to find certain things. If this illegal please tell me. I might just quit this hobby, and take up golf.

Don't ask us, ask Ceips. I really don't know what has put a bee in her bonnet since the facts don't seem to support her efforts. But the current wording of the bill seems to me to only cover searching using a GPS "device" or searching for a "stamp".

 

I am serious about asking Ceips. Send her a link to your cache page and ask her if she intends to prohibit this sort of activity. Also contact your representative and ask them the same questions. Being involved is the only way to control your government.

 

Although this would seem to allow Geocaching if you don't actually use the GPS device while in the "historical" areas and are not looking for a stamp, I expect this would be thin ice that geocaching.com would not want to tread.

 

But be careful, SC may have a ban on golfing in historical areas as well.

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Someone should poll the senators. This would provide a starting point for any kind of opposition. Who knows? Maybe there is an influential senator or two who could champion our cause. :o:laughing:

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Someone should poll the senators. This would provide a starting point for any kind of opposition. Who knows? Maybe there is an influential senator or two who could champion our cause. :o:laughing:

all about who you know and how high up their power goes.....

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H.3777 - BOY WAS THAT FAST ----

05/12/05 House Read third time and sent to Senate

05/12/05 Senate Introduced and read first time

05/12/05 Senate Referred to Committee on Judiciary

 

Will someone be tracking and attending the Senate Judicary Committee? I will be getting in touch with my rep (Knotts) who is also on the Committee.

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