Today is the beginning of the 2012 legislative session, and Palmetto Public Record will be blogging all day from the State House. First up is a Senate hearing for three bills which give the state’s unemployed hoops to jump in before they’re eligible for benefits, so watch for our story later in the day.
POP QUIZ: In the 10 months since Columbia banned texting while driving, how many tickets have police issued for the offense? Get the answer after the headlines:
South Carolina evangelicals edge toward Santorum – Religious conservative voters in South Carolina, shaking off months of indecision, are showing signs of movement toward surging Rick Santorum but are still badly split in the Republican presidential race, according to Reuters’ John Whitesides.
Gingrich calls Obama “food-stamp president” in call with S.C. voters – Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich touted his endorsement from Todd Palin, proposed America sell oil to Europe and called Barack Obama a “food-stamp president” during a conference call with South Carolina voters Monday, according to the Free Times’ Corey Hutchins. He plans to fly in Tuesday night and campaign heavily in South Carolina where he will be airing an ad on Wednesday about abortion, he said.
A win in NH doesn’t guarantee success in SC – Meeting or surpassing expectations in New Hampshire could give a candidate new life here in South Carolina, reports The State’s Wayne Washington. Failing there could mean the candidate won’t get a chance to compete in the S.C. primary whose winner has, since 1980, gone on to win the GOP nomination.
S.C. bill would require jobless to volunteer – A bill up for debate today in the state Senate would require unemployed workers who can’t find a job in six months to volunteer 16 hours a week to continue getting benefits, according to the Associated Press’ Seanna Adcox. Another bill set for discussion would require laid-off workers to pass a drug test to qualify for benefits, and require the unemployed to pay for the test.
Rumor: Federal probe into Nikki Haley’s “family temple” expands – A federal investigation into the finances of the Sikh Religious Society of South Carolina – the temple where S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley’s parents worship – has expanded to include the governor’s personal and campaign finances, according to FITSNews. Agents are said to be investigating whether Haley and her husband received improper payments from the temple
POP QUIZ ANSWER: None. Zip. Zero. Nada.