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STATE HOUSE: Truthful Tuesday activists protest rejection of Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act

02/25/2014 12:32 PM

02/25/2014 3:16 PM

COLUMBIA -- About 20 protesters held a "Truthful Tuesday" demonstration outside the state Senate chambers today, holding signs that said "Shame" and saying the same to lawmakers entering the chamber.

The group was protesting the state's rejection of federal money to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

"I'm extra hurt by the lack of this state's involvement," said Marjorie Hammock, a retired social worker who worked at Benedict College and former chief of chief of social work at the S.C. Department of Corrections.

"It's our money that's going to the feds" that could come back to help the vulnerable, she said.

Protesters gathered around Brett Bursey with the S.C. Progressive Network, once the bell signaling the beginning of the Senate session rang. Two uniformed officers from the S.C. Department of Public Safety walked to the front of the group at that time and stood nearby.

An existing state law makes it illegal to disrupt a legislative session, a crime that carries possible three years in jail and a $5,000 fine, Bursey said.

The group, which then discussed ways they could continue their protest, and took a poll of the group on who would be comfortable with risking possible arrest or fines.

Rev. Nelson Rivers, vice president of stakeholder relations for the NAACP and former state director for the organization spoke to the group, criticizing lawmakers for rejecting Medicaid expansion.

He urged lawmakers to take the federal money "so tomorrow people who might die would have a chance to live. It is evil, unmitigated and rampant, and we need to say it without being afraid."

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A blog from The State's political team of Cassie Cope, Jamie Self and Andy Shain. Email tips to Follow The Buzz @buzzatthestate. Follow Cassie @cassielcope. Follow Jamie @jamiemself. Follow Andy @andyshain.

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