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SC Senate

  • South Carolina lawmakers are not yet done debating new abortion restrictions. House Speaker Murrell Smith announced Monday that the lower chamber will meet on Sept. 27. By then it will have been more than two weeks since the Senate sent back a proposal that looked markedly different from the ban passed earlier by the House. The House last month passed a ban at all stages of pregnancy with exceptions for rape and incest, as well as the life of the mother. The Senate last week passed a six-week ban that is slightly more restrictive than a law that's on hold and is also based on when cardiac activity can be detected in an embryo.
  • South Carolina senators have rejected a ban on almost all abortions in a special session. Republicans had a majority of votes to pass the ban, but Republican Sen. Tom Davis threatened to filibuster and proponents of the ban were two votes short of the means of ending such a tactic. Davis was joined by the three Republican women senators, a fifth GOP colleague and all the chamber's Democrats to oppose the proposed ban. Senators did pass a few changes to the six-week ban, including cutting the time that victims of rape and incest who become pregnant can seek an abortion from 20 weeks to about 12 weeks and requiring that DNA from the aborted fetus be collected for police.
  • South Carolina senators are moving toward a showdown on a proposal to ban abortion and make no exceptions for pregnancies caused by rape or incest. Senators failed twice to get the exceptions back into the bill Wednesday. A number of the 30 Republicans in the 46-member Senate say they can't support the bill without the exceptions because they don't want 14-year-old rape victims to have to give birth. On the other side, are Republicans who consider any abortion to be a crime that ends a life. Democrats have been united against the bill.
  • South Carolina's Senate debate on an abortion ban that would no longer include exceptions for pregnancies caused by rape or incest started Wednesday with the chamber's three Republican women taking a stand against a bill they said doesn't respect women and doesn't respect life. On one side are absolutists who say any abortion ends a life. On the other are conservatives who have been watching developments in other states since Roe v. Wade was overturned. They don't want to force 14-year-old rape victims to give birth, or have mothers risk death by carrying fetuses that can't survive outside the womb. Democrats say they won't help Republicans change an awful bill into a very bad bill.
  • A group of South Carolina senators has voted to remove exceptions for rape and incest from a proposed abortion ban. Democrats chose not to vote Tuesday on the proposal in what appeared to be a strategy to try to prevent the bill from passing through the Legislature. The 7-3 vote in the Senate Medical Affairs Committee involved all Republican men. The committee then took a break before considering more changes as it decides whether to send the bill to the Senate floor. The same bill without the exceptions appeared to fail in the more conservative state House before some Republicans maneuvered it to allow abortions for rape and incest victims up to the 12th week of pregnancy.
  • he South Carolina Senate has agreed to come back in special session later this year to take up abortion bills to respond to the possibility the U.S. Supreme Court allows states to ban the procedure. Republicans rejected a request by Democrats to also include in a special session a bill that would make South Carolina the 49th state to approve a hate crimes law. That bill will die if not approved before the end of the General Assembly's regular session Thursday. The special session resolution now goes to the House.
  • A seven year effort to pass a medical marijuana bill stopped abruptly in the House of Representatives this week where the bill died on a technicality.The bill that would allow doctors in the state to prescribe medical cannabis as treatment for certain diseases. It appeared to be on its way for passage by the House when the House leadership ruled it procedurally dead.Bills that create or raise taxes must originate in the House. The so-called Compassionate Care Act originated in the Senate where it easily passed, and it would provide for new state fees to pay for regulating the growing and distribution of medical cannabis. House leaders decided the bill would be a separate tax so they ruled it out of order.The House decision shocked leaders of the Senate. Senate bills for years have altered fees and taxes. This weeks’ action could cause repercussions for the final days of the session. Next year’s budget … proposed income tax reduction, and an election reform bill are hanging in the balance. Senate Majority leader Shane Massey said he was "flabbergasted" at the House’s action.
  • A seven-year fight to pass a medical marijuana bill may have ended in South Carolina when a House leader ruled the proposal would mean a tax increase and could not be considered. Wednesday's decision may have repercussions well beyond failing to make South Carolina one of about 40 states allowing medical marijuana. Senate leaders were stunned by the decision. The House upheld the ruling on a 59-55 vote even as opponents say it could prevent the Senate from writing any bill that deals with money, whether it's a special license plate or raising the fine for speeding.
  • Major differences with House versionThe big differences in the House and Senate versions of next year’s state budget are setting up a rocky road for final passage of the new budget which goes into effect July 1.
  • Some Republicans in the South Carolina Senate have a little remorse over taking $1 billion out of the state budget to give income taxpayers rebates. The senators took control of the chamber's $12.6 billion budget debate Wednesday. They unsuccessfully pushed to have that money spent instead on road improvements, building rural schools, providing a $1,500 bonus to teachers, a COVID-19 bonus to state employees or other options. Republican Sen. Stephen Goldfinch of Murrells Inlet says the rebate put senators in a box. The House nearly $14 billion budget has no rebate and a $600 million tax cut, while the Senate budget has a $1 billion rebate and $1 billion tax cut.