FOIA legislation to be revisited by South Carolina lawmakers

South Carolina legislators this session will again attempt to pass legislation aimed at reforming the state’s Freedom of Information Act, which regulates public meetings and the release of public records. S.C. Rep. Bill Taylor, R-Aiken, and S.C. Rep. Weston Newton, R-Beaufort, pre-filed a FOIA bill in the House, and Sen. Chip Campsen, R-Charleston, has filed a similar Senate bill.

This is the fourth term Taylor has introduced his bill, he said at a legislative workshop Thursday. Taylor’s bill would adjudicate FOIA disputes in Administrative Law Court and shortens a public body's response time to requests from 15 to 10 days, but gives governments more time to produce records.

The law would redact a dying person's last words from 911 recordings. Dash cam video would automatically be public information, but police can apply to circuit court to prevent disclosure. The FOIA bill died last session, and was held up by a minority report. Senate rules allow lawmakers in the minority party to stall bills by issuing a minority report. Continue…