Editorial: Eliminate excessive FOIA fees

Perceived weaknesses in South Carolina’s Freedom of Information Act consistently are exploited by government agencies or public officials. Citizens in South Carolina for decades have had to fight efforts to limit their ability to know what state or local governments are doing in the public’s name.

An area receiving increased scrutiny involves government agencies charging excessive fees when asked to produce public records. The Greenville County Sheriff’s Office is coming under criticism for possible violation of the state open records law because it charges fees considered by some to be excessive for public records for 911 call recordings.

The Greenville County Sheriff’s Office fee rates for producing 911 call recordings were described as “imperious and unlawful” by Jay Bender, a lawyer for the South Carolina Press Association and an expert on this state’s FOIA. Continue>>>