Following the money in SC just got harder: court ruling narrows state’s Freedom of Information Act

Following the money has gotten a little harder in South Carolina. A state Supreme Court ruling on Wednesday scaled back a 27-year-old legal norm that any private entity receiving public money must disclose its organization’s records under the Freedom of Information Act. In Domains versus Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce, a 4-to-1 majority of the high…

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SC: Medical University of SC fights newspaper over information involving alleged cheating scandal

An attorney for the Medical University of South Carolina says it could cost $275,000 to search email servers in connection with an open records inquiry into allegations that two students cheated on exams.

In a letter to The Post and Courier, the university’s attorney also warned a reporter not to contact members of MUSC’s Honor Council, students or employees about university disciplinary proceedings.

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Pornographic email investigation: WIS asks for records, gets $30K bill instead

From WIS:  FAIRFIELD COUNTY, SC (WIS) – A WIS investigation into allegations that the Fairfield County administrator had disseminated pornography from his tax payer-funded computer has ended with a $29,395 Freedom of Information Act charge.

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SC House Speaker dodging WIS open records requests

From WISTV.com:

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) — Despite state law that says such records are to be kept for four years and two public records requests, one of which delivered directly to the Speaker himself, Bobby Harrell refuses to allow WIS to see his spending records for the previous four years.

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SC House to consider proposal to make lawmakers’ records public

From myrtlebeachonline.com:

COLUMBIA, SC — The S.C. House will consider ending part of the exemption that lawmakers have from the state’s sunshine laws.

The state’s Freedom of Information Act, which outlines the information that public officials and government bodies must make available to the public, currently exempts members of the General Assembly and their staff from disclosing memos, correspondence and working papers.

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Father of Crash Victim Says Investigation Records Withheld

From Southern Political Report:

September 18, 2012 — COLUMBIA — The father of a 20-year-old man who was killed in a car accident in 2005 is still pressing for answers.

L. Paul Trask, Jr. has accused state and local officials of violating the state Freedom of Information Act and South Carolina Public Records Act when he sought documents from the investigation of the death of his son.

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NFOIC’s State FOIA Friday for May 18, 2012

A few state FOIA and local open government news items selected from many of interest that we might or might not have drawn attention to earlier in the week:

Open meeting law needs looser definition

MASSACHUSETTS—At the risk of sounding like a geezer, I want to tell you a little about what it was like reporting on local government before there was such a thing as an open meeting law.

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SC House approves strengthening open records law

From Aiken Standard:

COLUMBIA, S.C.—The South Carolina House approved a bill Thursday strengthening the state's open records law.

The bill approved 101-1 a bill barring public agencies, governments and school districts from charging excessive fees for public records and requiring them to respond more quickly. It also removes legislators' exemption from the law.

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