COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina senators have overwhelmingly voted to get rid of a requirement for hospitals and large medical centers to get permission from the state to build new facilities, make expansions or buy expensive equipment.

The 35-6 vote Tuesday eliminates the Certificate Of Need program and sends the bill to the House.

Supporters of the repeal say its an antiquated system not needed in the time of health care conglomerates.

Opponents include the South Carolina Hospital Association.

They say the program protects rural hospitals and can prevent hospitals from overspending because of competition.