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South Carolina Set to Become First State to Define Anti-Semitism by Law

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (Henry McMaster FB page)

South Carolina is set to become the first state to legislate a definition of anti-Semitism, with one major provision, the Charleston Post and Courier reported Thursday.

Included in an $8 billion budget bill, two stalled bills that define anti-Semitism were revived by South Carolina senators. The stalled bills, however, require South Carolina to certify local governments enforcing federal immigration laws to not create so-called "sanctuary cities." Inserting this language gives the bills a better chance to become law, but it will only stand until the next budget is passed in 2019.

Sen. William Timmons of Greenville inserted the newest proposal, requiring the State Law Enforcement Division to collect information on every local government's immigration enforcement practices. Democrats and some Republicans, the Post and Courier story said, called it a "political stunt" to help Gov. Henry McMaster in his Republican primary race.

The legislation died when the House failed to vote on it in time to meet this past Tuesday's deadline.

Supporters of the bill say is a necessity to ensure South Carolina local governments don't become "sanctuary cities," meaning they do not assist the federal government in detaining undocumented immigrants. Timmons told the Post and Courier that the legislation will stop "rogue law enforcement agencies" from ignoring the law.

The Post and Courier reported that a bipartisan bill defining anti-Semitism for South Carolina's college stalled last year after receiving overwhelming approval in the House and tentative approval in the Senate.

Supporters also say that the law is needed to help curb a national rise of anti-Jewish bigotry on campuses. The bill's sponsor, Rep. Alan Clemmons, says Jewish students are "disproportionately the victims of anti-religious discrimination.

The proposal would require colleges to apply the definition when deciding whether an incident or speech violates anti-discrimination policies.

The Post and Courier story says Lt. Gov. Kevin Bryant, who is running for governor, praised senators who voted for proposals, but wasn't pleased with another aspect of the state budget bill.

"Unfortunately, the Senator chose to continue sending taxpayer dollars to an organization that kills unborn children," Bryant told the Post and Courier.

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