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S.C. State House roundup: House budget writers take conservative approach

South Carolina State House roundup
South Carolina State House roundup(WRDW)
Published: Mar. 5, 2021 at 3:18 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, S.C. - The South Carolina House’s budget writing committee has passed its nearly $10 billion spending plan, which includes small raises for teachers and law enforcement.

Ways and Means Committee Chairman Murrell Smith says more raises and other delayed projects could end up in the plan eventually because tax revenues are well above projections.

But Smith says for now budget writers want to take a conservative approach and wait to see how much money the state actually collects in taxes by the mid-April deadline.

Smith says they also want a few extra months to track trends in what remains an unstable COVID-19 economy before approving additional spending.

New abortion law remains on hold under judge’s order

COLUMBIA, S.C. - A new South Carolina law banning abortions will stay on hold following a judge’s order to extend a temporary restraining order. U.S. District Judge Mary Geiger Lewis issued the extension Friday.

It runs through March 19. Her original order had been set to expire at midnight Friday.

On Monday, Lewis will preside over a hearing on Planned Parenthood’s request for an injunction halting the law altogether while a lawsuit seeking to overturn it is resolved.

The law requires doctors to perform ultrasounds to check for a heartbeat in the fetus, which can typically be detected about six weeks after conception.

If one is detected, the abortion can only be performed if the pregnancy was caused by rape or incest or the mother’s life is in danger.

SC considers bill letting pharmacists give birth control

COLUMBIA, S.C. - A bill that would allow pharmacists to directly give birth control to women in South Carolina without a prescription is heading to the Senate floor.

Republican Sen. Tom Davis says he sponsored the bill because lawmakers passed a law earlier this year that could ban nearly all abortions. Davis, who voted for the abortion bill, says 12 other states have similar laws.

The Senate Medical Affairs Committee approved the bill Thursday.

Senators said they expect to discuss a few changes to the bill on the floor, including whether pharmacists will be required to discuss birth control directly with women before handing it over or if the information can be in written form.

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