SC senators pull all-nighter to approve $5B budget

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - South Carolina senators fought sleep to debate fees through the early morning hours as they approved a $5 billion spending plan after 17 hours of near-marathon debate.

Senators finished their budget work early Friday after a long night of sometimes testy fights over fees used to patch together a spending plan that already relies on federal bailout cash to head off steep cuts in education and health care programs.

Fee opponents repeatedly tried to kill fees.

A top target was a $12 bienniel fee added on top of car registrations. Proponents said the money was critical to keeping Highway Patrol officers on the road.

The bill now heads back to the House for consideration.

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