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.
Read More… from Editorial: Eliminate excessive FOIA fees
A House-passed bill allowing South Carolina public agencies to take legal action against citizens who file “unduly burdensome” or “overly broad” open-records requests could be the first law of its kind in the country if enacted, several legal observers say.
Read More… from Empowering Public Agencies to Stop Citizen FOIA Requests – Another S.C. First?
At Thursday’s funeral in Columbia, it was noted that most South Carolinians did not know John Shurr. But they know a lot more about their state and local governments because of him.
Read More… from FOIA champion’s story makes case to improve law
The South Carolina House has given key approval to a bill that creates a new court to handle disputes over how government agencies handle open records requests.
The bill approved 90-16 on Wednesday would cut the amount of time agencies can take to answer a request for public records to 10 business days. It also would require agencies to post fee schedules to assure they are not trying to block requests by charging excessive money for copying and research.
Read More… from Bill creating court to hear FOIA complaints passes House
Proposals aimed at ending governmental abuses of the state's open records law advanced Wednesday in the South Carolina House.
Legislation sent to the full House Judiciary Committee would require government entities to respond more quickly to requests, bar them from charging excessive fees, and create a way to settle disputes quickly and cheaply.
"It's designed to clean up the abuses that exist and are in practice today and make it easy for citizens to seek redress," said Rep. Weston Newton, R-Bluffton, the main sponsor.
Read More… from SC House panel advances public records legislation
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.
Read More… from Editorial: S.C. Senate moves to fix FOIA
Improving access to government would be quality start in improving S.C. grade of F
State officials make lofty promises when it comes to ethics in government. They tout the transparency of legislative processes, accessibility of records and the openness of public meetings. But these efforts often fall short of providing any real transparency or legitimate hope of rooting out corruption.
Read More… from Study shows FOIA reform top priority
Following a 2014 decision concerning the state’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by the S.C. Supreme Court, exempting autopsy results from the information available to the public, Sen. Larry Martin is looking to change legislation.
Martin, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, will also be chair of a subcommittee that will be debating a change to the legislation of record, putting in place measures to insure “the public’s right to information,” albeit with some restrictions applied to protect the privacy of individuals.
Read More… from Martin seeking to change FOIA autopsy rules
It seems it was only a few days ago that Rose and I, along with our little guys, were heaving candy from the back of a pickup truck crawling down Calhoun Street during the Bluffton Christmas Parade. We have yet to finish taking down the Christmas decorations, and already we have two children deeply involved in basketball, with school going full-bore.
Read More… from FOIA among priorities for SC legislative session
Former Beaufort County Council chairman Weston Newton is making Beaufort County proud. Now a Republican state representative, Newton has made open government a priority. He chaired a subcommittee last year that studied ways to improve the state's Freedom of Information Act — an oft-used vehicle by which the media and public get information about their government.
Read More… from Make it easier for public to get government information