SC politics: Bill banning abortions beyond 19 weeks stalls

04/17/2014 12:00 AM

04/16/2014 9:12 PM

Bill banning abortions beyond 19 weeks stalls

A bill banning abortion in South Carolina beyond 19 weeks of pregnancy has stalled in the state Senate, with lawmakers raising concerns the proposal also would ban contraception.

A Medical Affairs subcommittee postponed a vote on the bill Wednesday. Senators said the bill is too broad. Debate likely will continue later this month.

The bill, which passed the House last month, asserts a fetus can feel pain at 20 weeks old. Supporters argue abortion is cruel and painful after 19 weeks. Opponents say whether a fetus can feel pain at that stage is questionable.

Under the bill, doctors who disregard the ban could be charged with a felony. It provides an exception only when the mother’s life is endangered.

Opponents say the bill violates the Supreme Court’s 1973 decision that legalized abortion.

Proposal giving hiring preference to vets advances

A bill allowing S.C. employers to give hiring preference to veterans and spouses of disabled veterans has advanced in the Senate.

The bill advanced Wednesday to the full Senate Judiciary Committee.

A spokeswoman for the state Retail Association says businesses want to support veterans by giving them jobs. But Lisa McGill Sweatman says they need assurances they won’t be liable for giving them preference.

Retired Maj. Gen. Abraham Turner says the bill will do more than just extend protection to employers. The former director of the state’s unemployment agency says it also honors the service and sacrifice of not only veterans but their spouses.

The House unanimously approved the bill last month.

State could buy some alternative-fuel school buses

A state budget proposal would provide new buses that run on alternative fuel to S.C. school districts willing to pay part of the bill.

The Senate Finance Committee approved Wednesday creating a pilot program for up to three districts. The alternative-fuel buses are expected to cost roughly $10,000 more than the $82,000 average for regular-route buses.

In South Carolina, the Education Department buys, owns and maintains the statewide school bus fleet. The fleet is among the nation’s oldest.

State Sen. Wes Hayes, R-York, says state education officials initially opposed the pilot project but have agreed to the Senate compromise. It requires school districts to pay for the cost difference, pay to train state-paid bus mechanics working on the buses and be responsible for having a local fuel source.

The Associated Press

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