A domestic violence bill now headed to the governor would increase penalties for offenders, bar higher-level abusers from owning guns, and revamp how such crimes are prosecuted in South Carolina.
The House voted 81-23 Thursday to accept a compromise version of the bill that was introduced last week. The vote came two days after the Senate approved an identical version
“This battle has been about creating a better tomorrow for all South Carolinians. Our laws reflect our values, and until recently, our values were not accurately represented by our laws,” State Attorney General Alan Wilson said in a statement released after the vote. “While this problem won’t be overcome with legislation alone, South Carolina has taken its first giant (step) in the long journey to changing the culture of violence.”
Many of the “no” votes against the bill came from Democrats who felt the bill did not do enough to provide counseling for batterers and their victims. Some opponents also questioned why a domestic violence intervention program was being moved from the state Department of Social Services to the Attorney General’s Office and circuit solicitors.