Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

The S.C. House unanimously passed a bill Wednesday that allows two weeks of early voting and other tweaks to state election laws. The bill now heads to the state Senate. 

The bill earned praise from Democrats and Republicans alike on the House floor before being passed 110-0. If the bill is passed into law, South Carolina would become the 45th state to allow voters to cast ballots outside of Election Day without an excuse. 

The state already allows absentee voting, but voters are asked to provide an excuse as to why they can’t be at the polls on Election Day. 

In other recent news:

Hutto, Senn force delay of abortion bills.  S.C. Sens. Brad Hutto, D-Orangeburg, and Sandy Senn, R-Charleston, staged a walkout from a committee hearing, delaying two abortion-related bills, including one that would ban all abortions in South Carolina if the U.S. Supreme Court says states can do so. Meanwhile, the Idaho Senate approved a GOP bill to ban abortion at six weeks while the Florida Senate passed a similar bill banning abortion at 15 weeks.

S.C. Senate moves forward bill to break up S.C. health agency.  South Carolina senators are set to consider a proposal to break up the state’s health and environmental affairs agency into two separate departments.

Senate bill would give every S.C. taxpayer $100 rebate minimum. All income tax filers in South Carolina — even the more than 1 million people who pay no state income tax — would get a rebate check of at least $100 in a bill being considered by the state Senate.

S.C. teacher vacancies highest in 20 years, data show. South Carolina’s teacher shortage is worsening, according to new numbers by the Center for Educator Recruitment, Retention and Advancement. There were 1,121 teacher vacancies in South Carolina as of February. That’s up from the 1,033 vacancies reported in the fall, which at the time was the most vacancies the state had in 20 years. 

2022 elections in S.C. likely to use maps passed by lawmakers. Possible federal trials over whether South Carolina’s new election districts discriminate against Black voters have been delayed several months, making it likely the new maps will be used for elections this year. 

State Senate OKs new floating holiday.  The state Senate has approved a new floating state holiday that would allow state employees to take off Juneteenth — or any other day — instead of Confederate Memorial Day. The proposal, which would cost no state money, now heads to the S.C. House. According to the Associated Press, “Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, when Union soldiers told enslaved Black people in Galveston, Texas, that they were free. It was two months after the Confederacy surrendered and more than two years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation.” 

Charleston church shooter appeals to U.S. Supreme Court. The attorneys for convicted Charleston church shooter Dylann Roof have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to decide how to handle client-attorney disagreements over mental illness-related evidence. During the trial over the 2015 racist massacre at the Emanuel AME Church, Roof represented himself at times and sought to block any evidence portraying him as mentally ill, especially during his death penalty trial. 

Trump to hold S.C. rally in March; McMaster to attend. Former President Donald Trump will hold a rally March 12 at the Florence airport in an effort to bolster campaigns for congressional Republican challengers state Rep. Russell Fry, R-Horry, running against U.S. Rep. Tom Rice, and Katie Arrington, running against U.S. Rep. Nancy Mace. Gov. Henry McMaster said Monday that he will attend Trump’s rally. McMaster has been an early supporter of Trump. 

U.S. Marine jet crashes on Sanford’s family property near Beaufort. A U.S. Marine Corps fighter jet crashed Thursday on former S.C. Gov. Mark Sanford’s family property near Beaufort. The pilot and co-pilot, who were aboard the plane that had just taken off from the nearby air station, were both uninjured.

This story originally appeared in Statehouse Report.

Help the City Paper keep delivering excellence

Winner of top 2021 state journalism honors (best editorial writing and best cartoon), the Charleston City Paper brings you the Best of Charleston every day. Support our “unafraid” journalism with a one-time donation or become a member of the City Paper Club.