COLUMBIA — A couple of state House Democrats want Gov. Nikki Haley's cheery "It's a great day in South Carolina" greeting canned.
Reps. John King of Rock Hill and Wendell Gilliard of Charleston wrote a bill that would ban state government workers from using Haley's widely parodied telephone greeting "so long as certain conditions exist in South Carolina."
Haley in September asked state workers to use the greeting.
"As hokey as some people may think it is, I'm selling South Carolina as this great, new, positive state that everybody needs to look at," the governor said at the time.
Since then, many government workers have incorporated the motto in their phone lingo while others conveniently forget to do so.
Gilliard chuckled when he learned that King had pre-filed the bill the two had talked about.
"I thought he was just jestering. Evidently he was serious," Gilliard said.
While the bill is a somewhat light-hearted jab at the enthusiastic Republican governor, Gilliard said it also has a serious message.
"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? And knowing this recent episode with the port, this is not a great day in South Carolina."
The bill bans any requirement that state workers use the greeting or a similar one "connoting the advantages of or a general pleasant demeanor in this state so long as any of the following conditions apply:"
• The state's unemployment rate is five percent or higher.
• All South Carolinians do not have health insurance.
• Funding for public schools, colleges and universities is not sufficient enough for 21st-century standards.
• The state's rural infrastructure is in adequate.
Haley wasn't amused.
"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 a statement.
Gilliard ended the call with a reporter Wednesday by saying, "Have a great day."