COPY-SC Senate approves ban on camping at Statehouse

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - The South Carolina Senate has unanimously approved a bill preventing Occupy Columbia from renewing its around-the-clock protest on Statehouse grounds.

The Senate voted 35-0 on Thursday to ban camping and sleeping around the state capitol. The measure has the same wording as an emergency regulation adopted in December. The Budget and Control Board approved the rule days after a federal judge said protesters could stay until regulations were put in place.

But emergency regulations expire in 90 days. In this case, that's March 18, several weeks before regulations created through the normal process could be in place. Legislators don't want the gap.

Another perfunctory vote is needed to send the bill to the House.

Occupy Columbia began its 24-hour protest Oct. 15. Protesters dispersed Dec. 23 after a judge's ruling.

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