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South Carolina bill to consider churches essential in emergencies advances

COLUMBIA, South Carolina — A bill that would assure churches can meet in person in South Carolina during a pandemic or other emergency as long as other essential businesses can stay open is advancing in the state Senate.

A Senate subcommittee unanimously approved the bill last week, sending it to the Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill passed the House last March.

Supporters of the bill said they know the state never closed any churches when other businesses were closed in spring 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic started.

But they said the proposal is needed to male sure it never happens, citing other states that did require churches to close.

No one spoke against the bill at the meeting last Tuesday.