FOIA suffers setbacks in Legislature, Supreme Court
By Rick Brundrett | The Nerve
Reformers of the Freedom of Information Act in South Carolina – which recently received a flunking grade in a national study on access to public information – are finding few friends in the S.C. Legislature or Supreme Court these days.
In a repeat of the two-year legislative session in 2011-12, a bill proposing major reforms to the FOIA died this year in the General Assembly. In contrast to the 2011-12 session, the legislation didn’t get near as far this session, remaining stuck in committee since March 2013.
Given that the legislative clock ran out this month on passing any reform bill, the process would have to start all over when lawmakers reconvene in January in Columbia.
Meanwhile, on June 18, the S.C. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that public bodies don’t have to issue agendas for regularly scheduled meetings. That means if no agendas are posted in advance, citizens likely won’t find out what their elected leaders are doing or discussing until they show up at the meetings.