An opinion in support of South Carolina open government bill

From Aiken Standard:

HILTON HEAD ISLAND — Legislators from Beaufort County are right to support an effort to improve the state’s Freedom of Information Act.
The bill would:
  • Force government officials to respond more quickly to requests for public documents made by the public.
  • Prohibit government officials from charging for staff time spent complying with records requests, as well as for documents available digitally. It would also prohibit governments from charging more than prevailing commercial rates for copying records. These are shameful tactics used to avoid the release of public information, and it must be stopped.
  • Increase fines for violating the FOIA — up to $1,500 for a third violation — and allow magistrates to hold individuals in government in civil contempt for failing to comply with FOIA requests.