COVID vaccine ban bill heads to South Carolina Senate floor | Texas

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COLUMBIA, SC (AP) — A bill to fine companies that fire workers who refuse to get a COVID-19 shot is headed for the South Carolina Senate floor.

Lawmakers on the Senate Finance Committee voted 14 to 9 on Tuesday to advance the measure, which would also prevent public employers from requiring the vaccine and ban places of public accommodation, such as restaurants, hospitals and hotels, to deny services to people because of their vaccination status. .

The vote comes after the House passed a anti-warrant bill in December this did not include a mandatory ban on vaccines for private employers.

In a major change to the House bill, private businesses requiring the vaccine would now face a fine equal to 10 times the state’s highest unemployment tax rate in four years. That’s about $7,500 per laid-off employee, according to Post and courier.

“It wouldn’t undermine our right to work and it would also give these business owners a choice,” said Shane Martin, a Republican from Spartanburg County, explaining how a Senate panel decided to amend the bill. bedroom. “If they wanted to fire someone for not shooting…they could still do that, but there would be consequences.”

the version of the bill that senators agreed to on Tuesday would not subject private employers to the fine for employees terminated before the proposal takes effect. It would also provide an exemption for companies with federal contracts that require vaccine mandates.

The vote followed about two hours of debate, much of it over whether the bill would hurt businesses: “I think we’re absolutely going to lose jobs because of this, I think we’re going to lose revenue because of that,” said Sen. Thomas McElveen, a Democrat whose district includes the Shaw Air Force Base around Sumter and its contractors.

The state Chamber of Commerce said it would fight the proposal.

Senators agreed that the bill still needs work and will likely see amendments in the Senate.

About 54% of South Carolinas ages 5 and older have been vaccinated against COVID-19, according to data from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control.

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