Panel passes bill to give SC vets more benefits


By JEFFREY COLLINSAssociated Press

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - A bill giving extra benefits to military veterans is awaiting approval by South Carolina's House and Senate.

A conference committee quickly approved it Tuesday. It extends property tax exemptions to land used for military housing and allows military members and their spouses to vote with absentee ballots in all elections.

Lawmakers have already passed proposals to allow private employers to favorably consider military service when hiring and to create special courts to treat veterans who have run into nonviolent legal trouble.

A proposal to allow military members and their children to immediately pay in-state tuition at South Carolina colleges and universities is waiting in another conference committee.

Beaufort Republican Sen. Tom Davis says the proposals are the right thing to do and will help South Carolina keep its military bases.

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