The Beaufort County Council has had two public comment hearings about a possible plastic bag ban.

To clarify: This ban, if passed, would be on all single-use plastic bags. Some people commonly refer to these as the “grocery store plastic bags.”

During this process, the county council hopes to include input from each municipality in the county, as well as constituents on both sides of the table. It has been good to hear from so many people with differing reasons for and against such a ban.

In the end, this is a prime example of the benefits of “home rule.” Home rule is something for which all people of South Carolina have fought for years, but haven’t always had.

It wasn’t all that long ago that each county had one senator in Columbia making all of the decisions, on a state level, for what happens “back home.”

With home rule, the people of Beaufort County can express what is best for Beaufort County, not relying on those in Columbia to determine our destiny.

Hurricanes have been front and center a lot lately. Something I have been trying to get placed front and center is a possible ordinance change to require all newly constructed public buildings to be built with the ability to be used as public shelters during a hurricane.

Currently, Beaufort has no hurricane shelters, only storm shelters and tropical storm shelters.

We would also require a percentage of them to be pet “friendly” centers. There is absolutely no reason why people should have to consider leaving their furry family members behind during a hurricane evacuation.

Stay tuned for the next round of Town Hall meetings I will hold. I invite you to these meetings to talk about any issues about which you feel strongly.

If your group, club, or homeowners’ association would like to have me come and share some county news, please give me a call or email me.

Michael E. Covert represents District 7 on Beaufort County Council.