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Proposed bill would ban cheery greeting mandate

COLUMBIA — Two South Carolina legislators say state employees shouldn’t have to answer the phone with Gov. Nikki Haley’s mandated cheery greeting unless it’s truly a great day in South Carolina.

Democratic state Reps. John Richard King and Wendell Gilliard have filed legislation saying no state agency can force its employees to answer the phone with, “It’s a great day in South Carolina,” as long as state unemployment is 5 percent or higher. Their bill also would prohibit requiring the greeting as long as all South Carolinians don’t have health insurance.

At a September meeting, Mrs. Haley ordered her Cabinet agencies to embrace the greeting, saying it could help change the mood of state government. A Haley spokesman says the Republican governor stands by the greeting.

ARKANSAS

Federal court: State can’t stop desegregation funds

LITTLE ROCK — A federal appeals court ruled Wednesday that Arkansas can’t cut off funding for desegregation programs in Little Rock-area school districts without a separate hearing and judge’s order.

The ruling from the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals comes months after U.S. District Judge Brian Miller ordered an end to most of the payments, calling them counterproductive. The appeals court heard the case in September.

The state has been spending about $38 million per year to help finance magnet schools that help keep a racial balance in the Little Rock, North Little Rock and Pulaski County school districts.

CAMPAIGN 2012

Uh, what? Second place might mean more delegates in some states

Look out for some wacky results in the race for delegates in the Republican presidential primaries and caucuses. There might even be a state or two where the second-place candidate gets the most delegates, starting with Tuesday’s caucuses in Iowa.

New GOP rules require states that hold nominating contests before April to award delegates proportionally. That usually means a candidate who gets 40 percent of the vote gets 40 percent of the delegates. But not always.

The rules give states a lot of leeway to define proportional, and some states have been pretty creative.

For example, in Ohio, the candidate who gets the most votes in each congressional district wins three delegates. Ohio has 16 congressional districts based on the latest census, so 48 delegates will be awarded this way.

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