- Associated Press - Thursday, March 1, 2012

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A bill that would prohibit state money from being used for sex change surgeries for prison inmates is one step closer to becoming law.

The Senate Corrections and Penology Committee on Thursday approved the bill that now goes to the Senate.

Under current policy, the South Carolina Department of Corrections is obligated to pay for hormonal treatment and surgery for inmates who come into the prison system during the sex-change process.

The proposed bill would not change that policy for hormonal treatment but would prohibit sex change surgeries from being paid for by the state.

Prison officials say no inmates have had the surgery while in prison. Only one asked for it but changed his mind.

Opponents they will sue if the bill, which they say is unconstitutional, becomes law.