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      Unemployment bills given initial approval by SC Senate panel

      COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- A Senate panel has given initial approval to bills that would require people laid off in South Carolina to pass a drug test to receive unemployment benefits, then volunteer 16 hours weekly to keep receiving a check.

      The panel's leader, Sen. Kevin Bryant, says it doesn't matter to him if the proposals conflict with federal law. The Anderson Republican says it's time to start pushing back against the federal government.

      Related Stories Proposed unemployment bill to help job seekers by volunteering SC bill would require unemployed to volunteer to receive benefits

      Sen. Paul Campbell says his bill requiring community service will help people find jobs as they hone their skills. Senators amended the bill from the Goose Creek Republican to require the work after five months.

      Another bill advanced Tuesday would require jobless workers to look for full-time work. They could no longer receive benefits if they're pursuing a part-time job.

      (Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)