A state Senate subcommittee passed a bill Wednesday that would require South Carolina high school students to be trained in CPR (cardio-pulmonary resuscitation) and how to operate an Automated External Defibrillator, or AED. The bill now goes to a full Senate committee.
Sen. Gerald Malloy, D-Hartsville, sponsor of the bill, says he thinks having all students get that training will save lives. The American Heart Association says there are about 360,000 sudden cardiac arrests each year nationwide. Only about one-third of those people receive CPR, but getting CPR can double or triple a person's chances of survival.
Sen. Malloy says, "There were great personal testimonies that were in our pamphlets and people that came in to talk that said, ‘You know, I'm here because there was someone there that knew CPR.'" He said there were others who testified that a friend or family member did not survive because there was no one there to perform CPR.
Six states require students to get CPR training in order to graduate: Alabama, Indiana, Iowa, Louisiana, North Carolina and Iowa. The legislatures in the states of Washington, Oregon and Texas are considering bills this year to require it.
Sen. Malloy says lawmakers are still working out details on how much the training would cost and whether there would be enough instructors. He's hoping to get the cost down to about $1 per student.
Students with disabilities that would prevent them from performing CPR would be exempt from the requirement, and parents would be able to sign forms to opt-out their children from the training.
A similar bill was rejected last year in the House, and the bill has not passed the full Senate, so it would need a two-thirds vote in the House to take up the bill if the full Senate passes it. Sen. Malloy hopes that can happen, since he's convinced the bill would save lives. Or he says the bill might be able to be attached to another bill that did meet the crossover deadline, so it wouldn't need a two-thirds vote to be debated.
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