COLUMBIA -- A couple of state Democrats want to can Gov. Nikki Haley's "It's a great day in South Carolina" greeting for making bureaucrats out to be pollyannas.

The Republican governor's widely parodied idea to market South Carolina with a cheery greeting would be outlawed under a bill by Reps. Wendell Gilliard of Charleston and John King of Rock Hill.

"My feelings on that are, why would you want to say, 'It's a great day in South Carolina,' when we're still in double-digit unemployment, people are still losing their homes, the homeless population in the state of South Carolina is still on the increase?" Gilliard said.

Haley, saying that some might find the idea "hokey," asked government workers two months ago to replace ho-hum phone etiquette with a little pick-me-up for callers. It would help customer service, she said then.

On Wednesday, Haley questioned why The Post and Courier would bother writing about such a thing.

"Out of all of the legislation proposed and all of the agenda items that we are working on related to jobs and the economy, is this really the bill that your news outlet thinks the people care about?" she said in an email.

King said the bill is important enough to his constituents. They told him that they don't want to hear a state worker tell them what a great day it is when they're calling the state Department of Health and Environmental Control to get a loved one's death certificate or dialing the S.C. Works office for help finding a job.

"Sometimes it's not a great day in their lives," King said.

Reach Yvonne Wenger at 803-926-7855, follow her on Twitter at @yvonnewenger.