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ERA-SOUTH CAROLINA

Historic SC Senate panel of 4 women OK Equal Right Amendment

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A history making group of female senators has approved a resolution to have South Carolina approve the Equal Rights Amendment. The subcommittee that voted Wednesday was made up of all four women in the state Senate. The 46-member Senate has never had more women. Virginia became the 38th state to pass the 1970's era proposal calling for equal rights for both sexes. That's the number needed to add an amendment to the U.S. Constitution. But Congress set a 1982 deadline and has not waived it. The four women in the South Carolina Senate are Democratic Sen. Mia McLeod of Columbia, Republican Sen. Katrina Shealy of Lexington, Democratic Sen. Margie Bright Matthews of Walterboro and Republican Sen. Sandy Senn of Charleston.

SHACKLED PREGNANT INMATES

SC Senate passes bill banning shackling of pregnant inmates

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The South Carolina Senate has approved a bill banning jails and prisons from using leg, waist and ankle restraints on pregnant women while they give birth. South Carolina is among only six states that don't ban shackling pregnant inmates. The bill passed by the Senate earlier this month would also require pregnant inmates to only be handcuffed in front so they can try to brace themselves if they fall. The House passed the bill last year. The Senate made changes, including banning body cavity searches of pregnant inmates and allowing inmates time out of restraints to have skin-on-skin bonding with a newborn. The House can accept those changes or the bill will go to a conference committee. The governor says he will sign the bill if it gets to his desk.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-SOUTH CAROLINA

Virus prompts S. Carolina gov to close schools in 2 counties

FLORENCE, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster prepared to declare a state of emergency Friday in two counties where coronavirus has been shown to have spread from person to person, and implement restrictions on visitation at nursing homes and correctional facilities. McMaster said he would also direct that schools in Kershaw and Lancaster counties be closed for two weeks. An executive order would also suspend visitation at state and local correctional institutions in all of South Carolina's 46 counties and direct state health officials to restrict visitation to nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

CAROLINAS-TRIBAL CASINOS

US govt OKs letting S Carolina tribe build N Carolina casino

KINGS MOUNTAIN, N.C. (AP) — The South Carolina-based Catawba Indian Nation has received permission from the federal government to build a casino and resort on land over the border in North Carolina. The U.S. Interior Department approved in writing the tribe's request to use acreage near Interstate 85 in Kings Mountain. Catawba leaders say the project will create thousands of jobs and give members the same kind of prosperity the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians has thanks to its two western North Carolina casinos. The Eastern Band plans to fight the decision in court, calling the casino's area its own historical territory.

BOOSTER CLUB VOLUNTEER INDICTED

Volunteer for athletic booster club is charged with fraud

GREENVILLE, S.C. (AP) — A volunteer for a South Carolina high school sports booster club is accused of using the group's debit card to pay her personal and family bills. Federal prosecutors said in an indictment this week that Karen Rice McCrary was a volunteer for the Powdersville High School Athletic Booster Club. Prosecutors say the card was to be used for concessions and other supplies for the booster club. But they say she used it to pay TitleMax of Greenville $1,700, and also paid Sprint Wireless, Charter Communications and Duke Energy bills. She's charged with wire fraud. It wasn't known Friday whether she has a lawyer who could be reached for comment on her behalf.

COAL ASH-SOUTH CAROLINA

SC senator wants to charge $140 million to take TVA coal ash

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A South Carolina senator has filed a bill that he says would stop the Tennessee Valley Authority from moving millions of tons of coal ash to his district. The authority announced last week that it was considering landfills in South Carolina, Tennessee, Mississippi, Georgia and Alabama for the coal ash. The toxic material is being removed from the old Allen Fossil Plant in Memphis, Tennessee. Sen. Thomas McElveen's bill would charge $30 a ton, which would cost the TVA about $140 million. The Democrat from Sumter says rural landfills often get stuck with society's most dangerous waste without proper compensation.