House approves bill on warrantless searches

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina legislators have approved a bill allowing officers to search people released on probation or parole without a warrant.

The House approved the bill by an 81-26 vote on Wednesday. Democrats complained it allows officers to search anyone they want under the guise they thought the person was on probation.

The measure allows officers to bypass going to a judge for a warrant before searching people on probation or parole. Inmates must agree to the searches before they're released.

House Speaker Bobby Harrell said probationers or parolees are still being punished and shouldn't receive the same privacy as law-abiding citizens. He said it's about public safety.

The bill needs another perfunctory vote in the House before returning to the Senate, which passed a similar version last year.

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