COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA) — The South Carolina House has voted, mostly along party lines, to pass a bill that would ban some from requiring the COVID-19 vaccine.
The legislation got second reading Thursday after hours of debate. The legislation had originally barred private businesses from requiring the COVID-19 vaccine for employment and allowed employees who were fired to sue.
This was taken out of the bill by House Republican leadership Thursday night. The amended legislation would allow employees who are fired because of their vaccination status to file for unemployment benefits. It would also require private employers to honor religious or medical exemptions. Rep. Gary Simrill (R-York) said a medical exemption can include the presence of coronavirus antibodies, a positive COVID-19 test or pregnancy.
The bill’s sponsor Rep. Stewart Jones (R-Laurens) said the bill “finds that balance with private employers and sets limitations with the religious and medical exemptions in the free market.”
Rep. Wendy Brawley said she and her Democratic colleagues believe this was a bad bill.
“The people who are closest to the organizations, whether they are school districts, governmental entities and corporations should be the ones making the decision about their employees,” Brawley said.
The bill is now headed to the Senate after getting a third reading Friday morning.
The Senate isn’t expected to return to Columbia until January when the second year of a two-year session starts.