By Associated Press - Thursday, February 18, 2021

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - South Carolina House Speaker Jay Lucas warned members Thursday that the House is not a place to be vindictive or theatrical.

Lucas’ speech to the body came a day after Republican Rep. Jonathon Hill interrupted debate on a bill that would ban almost all abortions by throwing dozens of sheets of paper to the ground and in the air as he stormed out of the chamber.

The Townville Republican was upset his amendments that would make a fetus a citizen at the time of conception were not being accepted after House leaders put a limit on debate.

Lucas did not name Hill or any other lawmaker and suggested it wasn’t just Hill who didn’t respect decorum in the House chamber.

“While a few individuals decide to elevate their own wishes above the will of the body, that behavior is unacceptable and will not be tolerated,” Lucas said. “The House floor is not a stage for your theatrics, and the body should not be held hostage to anyone’s vindictiveness.”

The House could choose to punish Hill or any other member, but there has been no effort to do that yet.

Hill has had a rocky relationship with Republicans. They kicked him out of the House Republican Caucus last session and the state Republican Party campaigned for his opponent in the 2020 primary.

Hill was in the back of the chamber while Lucas spoke, then walked to his seat.

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