Gov. approves using tourism money for more police next Memorial Day weekend

Brad Dean, president of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, addressing the Board of Directors during a meeting on June 3 when the board voted to approve the funding changes provisios.

Governor Nikki Haley has approved the provisos in the state's budget for next year that would allow Myrtle Beach to use tourism money to provide extra law enforcement in May 2015.

The State House and Senate approved the provisos earlier.

The Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce released the following media statement from Chamber President and CEO Brad Dean following the announcement by Gov. Haley:

"We applaud Gov. Haley's and the General Assembly's willingness to allow us to redirect a portion of promotional funds into public safety for events held in May. Our top priority remains the promotion of our No. 1 industry, tourism, and, in light of recent events, we feel investing in additional law enforcement for the month of May is the best investment we can make for our residents, our business community and our visitors. We stand firmly behind Gov. Haley and applaud her efforts to find solutions to protect our entire community."

The chamber board voted on June 2 to ask for changes to be made to two sections of state law allowing tourism funds to be used to provide extra law enforcement.

One of the proposals would impact funds from the Department of Revenue and the accommodations tax fund, the other would impact funds from the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism and the destination specific funds.

The measure would reassign the use of the money and could generate up to $3 million, Dean said.

This move comes in the wake of this year's violence over Memorial Day weekend, which is also the weekend of the Atlantic Beach Bikefest.

This year there were five shootings in Myrtle Beach where police said they found victims, including one shooting where three people were killed at Bermuda Sands. There were eight shooting incidents in all.