A Senate Judiciary subcommittee approved the bill today.
The measure initially banned teen drivers under 18 from using hand-held devices.
The panel's chairman, West Columbia Republican Sen. Jake Knotts, tried to change it to ban both texting and hand-held use for drivers of all ages. But the panel's other two members said that went too far.
The subcommittee didn't decide on a fine for violators. Republican Sen. Shane Massey of Edgefield said the proposed $25 fine was too low to change drivers' habits.
Last week, a House panel gave initial approval to a bill barring both texting and hand-held cell phone use. That bill sets the fine at up to $100, with two points on a driving license.