COLUMBIA, S.C. — A South Carolina House panel plans to review a bill that would confirm churches and other religious organizations are treated as essential services during a state of emergency.
The bill sponsored by Republican Rep. Richie Yow of Chesterfield says religious groups still have to follow safety protocols and occupancy rules during emergencies. But the proposal says houses of worship can’t be closed if other essential businesses remain open.
Gov. Henry McMaster did not close churches early in the COVID-19 pandemic because he said that would violate the constitutional right of religious freedom.
The House Special Laws Subcommittee is meeting about the bill Tuesday.