Editorial: S.C. Senate moves to fix FOIA

To their credit South Carolina state senators are moving quickly and decisively to fix two significant problems that arose last year and left our state’s Freedom of Information Act significantly weakened. With two rulings last summer the S.C. Supreme Court dealt serious blows to the state laws designed to protect the public’s ability to know what governing bodies and elected officials are doing.

State Sen. Larry Martin of Pickens chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee, and he and other senators are to be commended for understanding the need to protect the public’s right to know how their government is operating. Martin promised early action when the Legislature returned in January, and that has been taking place.

Bills quickly moved through the Senate Judiciary Committee that would plug two gaping holes put in the FOIA by the state Supreme Court’s rulings that undermined the law ensuring people had access to public information needed to hold government officials accountable. That was followed last week by the Senate giving unanimous approval on first reading to the bill that would require public bodies to provide agendas for all regularly scheduled meetings. The other bill was carried over to this week that would require coroners to release some important basic details on the cause and manner of death. Continue>>>