House panel approves $5.2 billion budget

The S.C. House Ways and Means Committee approved Thursday a $5.2 billion spending plan that cuts welfare, Medicaid and college spending and stands to affect broad swaths of the state's poor, professionals and students.

A backlash is on the way, however, as groups said they will organize a march to tell legislators to come up with better ways of dealing with a $700 million budget gap.

A coalition of faith groups, teachers, state employees and other activist groups plans a mass Statehouse rally March 12 to tell legislators they can find ways to pay for needed services instead of cutting them.

Voter ID measure passes in Senate

South Carolina voters will have to show photo identification at the polls under a proposal approved Thursday in the state Senate.

The bill would end the practice of allowing voters to show only registration cards without photographs before they are allowed to cast ballots. They also can show a driver's license that has a photo.

The Senate's version exempts people who are 65 years old and over from having to get IDs to vote. Also created was an 11-day early-voting period that will end three days before the election. And it leaves much of the existing absentee voting law intact.