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    WASHINGTON (AP) — Upending the midterm elections, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham has introduced a nationwide abortion ban. The bill would prohibit abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, except in cases of rape, incest or danger to the physical health of the mother. The legislation introduced Tuesday is sending shockwaves through both parties with just weeks before voters go to the polls. Graham's own Republican colleagues did not immediately embrace his abortion ban bill, which has almost no chance of becoming law in the Democratic-held Congress. Democrats torched it as extreme and an alarming signal of where Republicans are headed if they win control of the House and Senate in November.

      COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A group of South Carolina senators has voted to remove exceptions for rape and incest from a proposed abortion ban. Democrats chose not to vote Tuesday on the proposal in what appeared to be a strategy to try to prevent the bill from passing through the Legislature. The 7-3 vote in the Senate Medical Affairs Committee involved all Republican men. The committee then took a break before considering more changes as it decides whether to send the bill to the Senate floor. The same bill without the exceptions appeared to fail in the more conservative state House before some Republicans maneuvered it to allow abortions for rape and incest victims up to the 12th week of pregnancy.

        COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina House members began to debate a new total ban on abortion Tuesday with no exceptions for pregnancies caused by rape or incest even as some Republicans in the GOP-dominated chamber suggested they can't vote for the bill as written. But if the exceptions are put into the bill, the chamber's most conservative members could join with Democrats to kill the bill too. On the day before the debate, one of the most conservative House lawmakers said 20 Republican have signed his letter saying they would not commit to voting for the total ban with exceptions. If those 20 vote no along with the House's 43 Democrats, the bill would be defeated. If it passes, the bill would go to the state Senate.

          Here are photos from last night's Cheney watch party, where the congresswoman told supporters that she had conceded to Harriet Hageman.

            After his second impeachment, former President Donald Trump made it his mission to defeat Rep. Liz Cheney, his chief Republican rival. On Tuesday, he succeeded.

              COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A small group of South Carolina lawmakers have given their approval to a near total abortion ban that does not include exceptions for pregnancies' caused by rape or incest. The 3-1 vote Tuesday — all Republicans for and the lone Democrat against — sets up a showdown later in the day on whether to send the restrictive bill to the House floor. South Carolina currently has a six-week ban passed in 2021 that went into effect after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. Republican lawmakers plan a special sessions over the next month to consider even more restrictions. The bill bans all abortions except when the life of the mother is in danger.

                ATLANTA (AP) — Sen. Lindsey Graham says he plans to appeal a federal judge's ruling that he must testify before a special grand jury in Atlanta. The panel is investigating whether then-President Donald Trump and his allies broke any laws while trying to overturn his 2020 general election loss in Georgia. Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis opened the investigation last year. Prosecutors have indicated they want to ask Graham about phone calls they say he made to Georgia's secretary of state and his staff following the election. Graham must appear Aug. 23. But the Republican South Carolina senator's office said Monday he plans to appeal to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

                COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A former Chester County sheriff convicted of abuse power and other charges was sentenced Monday to nearly 4 years in prison. WSOC-TV reports that in April 2021, Alex Underwood was also convicted of stealing money from government programs, unlawfully arresting a man, and of wire fraud. Federal Bureau of Investigation agents began investigating Underwood after he jailed a man for three days for no reason after the man recorded the aftermath of a police chase and wreck that happened near his home. Underwood created a false police report that said the man stepped out of his yard into the public roadway and cursed at police, according to indictments. A judge sentenced Underwood to 46 months in federal prison.

                A law restricting abortions in South Carolina after six weeks of pregnancy can take effect immediately in the state. The U.S. District Court in South Carolina on Monday lifted its prior hold on the enforcement of a state law passed last year that bans most abortions if an ultrasound detects a so-called fetal heartbeat, usually around six weeks into a pregnancy. The decision was part of a wave of court action across the U.S. after Friday's ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that overturned Roe v. Wade. The new law replaces one that allowed abortions up to the 20th week of pregnancy.

                COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The South Carolina General Assembly is returning to Columbia on Tuesday to consider nearly $53 million in local projects that Gov. Henry McMaster wants out of the $13.8 billion state budget. All the money went toward items put in by lawmakers for local concerns, like $25 million to help pay for a quantum computer facility in Columbia, $7 million for a cultural welcome center in Orangeburg and $500,000 to improve the stadium at Summerville High School. McMaster says he allowed projects where lawmakers detailed exactly who got the money and where it was going.

                CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Twenty airports in South Carolina will share nearly $19 million in federal grants in improvements such as new taxiway lighting and terminal upgrades. The Post and Courier reports $12.6 million of the funding will go to the state's four largest airports in Charleston, Columbia, Myrtle Beach and Greenville-Spartanburg. The remaining $6.3 million is getting split between smaller county and regional airfields. The South Carolina grants are among $518 million in funding the Federal Aviation Administration has awarded to airports across the U.S. The money will help pay for new and improved terminal buildings, runway and signage repairs and new equipment.

                CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — U.S. Rep. Tom Rice of South Carolina has been ousted from Congress in his Republican primary after voting to impeach Donald Trump over the Jan. 6 insurrection. He is the first of the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump to lose a reelection bid. Rice, a five-term congressman, was defeated Tuesday by state Rep. Russell Fry, who was endorsed by Trump. Rice was a strong supporter of Trump's policies in Washington but said he was left no choice but to impeach Trump over Jan. 6. U.S. Rep. Nancy Mace, another South Carolina Republican who angered Trump, was hovering just above the 50% threshold needed to avert a runoff in her GOP primary.

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                COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — U.S. Rep. Nancy Mace is beefing up her campaign coffers in an effort to stave off GOP challenger Katie Arrington in the closing days of the campaign for South Carolina's 1st District. Mace has consistently topped the money contest in the 1st Congressional District. The freshman Republican has taken in more than $4.1 million in contributions through May 25, the deadline for pre-primary fundraising reports, and has $1.4 million cash on hand. Pre-primary receipts for Arrington amount to more than $909,000, more than half of which came via a personal loan of $525,000. Arrington had $607,000 on-hand as of May 25. The winner of the June 14 GOP contest will face Democrat Annie Andrews.

                COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The South Carolina lawmakers negotiating big gaps between the House and Senate versions of the state budget have received a big gift as the state's economy continued to do better than predicted. Economists meeting Tuesday predicted that South Carolina can now expect to have about $950 million more in its bank accounts by the end of June from taxes and other revenue. The House and Senate are about $1.3 billion apart on their budget plans with the biggest difference a $1 billion rebate senators want to send back to taxpayers. Senate Finance President Harvey Peeler says lawmakers need to remember it is the people's money. New House Speaker Murrell Smith says the General Assembly needs to prepare for a possible economic downturn.

                COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina's Republican governor has quietly signed into law a bill that would ban transgender students from playing girls' or women's sports in public schools and colleges. Gov. Henry McMaster's signature Monday means South Carolina joins about a dozen other states that have passed similar laws requiring transgender students to compete with the gender listed on their birth certificates. McMaster didn't issue a statement after signing the bill, but said earlier this month he thought "girls ought to play girls and the boys ought to play boys. That's the way we've always done it." Opponents of the law say it singles out students who aren't elite athletes but are just looking for a way to be a regular student.

                COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Five University of South Carolina trustees who some powerful lawmakers feel are responsible for interference in daily affairs won't be allowed to run for reelection next month. The legislative board that screens university trustees is refusing to send chairman C. Dorn Smith as well as trustees Thad Westbrook, C. Edward Floyd, John von Lehe and Charles Williams to a May 4 election by the General Assembly. The decision comes as the state Senate prepares to review a House-approved bill that would fire all current trustees at the end of June 2023 and redraw their districts, cutting the board from 20 members to 13.

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