HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – South Carolina Senator Kevin Bryant is sponsoring a bill that would give SC employers the right to refuse tobacco-users for employment.
South Carolina is among 29 states that prohibit employers from refusing to hire tobacco-users, and some argue that changing this would be an infringement on their freedom.
Bryant is standing up for what he calls the '"employer's freedom," the freedom for businesses to choose if they want to hire people who smoke or use chewing tobacco.
"People keep saying I am opening a can of worms," Bryant says. "I'm putting a lid in the can of worms, we'll just end this discussion, we'll let businesses operate on their own, and we'll try to promote freedom as much as we can and I feel that's what's best for the economy."
The SC Hospital Association is backing the bill. Rozalynn Goodwinn, a member of the SCHA says "Tobacco use is a very high contributor to why our state ranks so low in terms of health when those rankings come out every year. South Carolina is near the bottom this year, we are number 46 and tobacco is high on that list of factors that are dragging down our rating."