Bill to strengthen FOIA act passes SC House panel

By JEFFREY COLLINSAssociated Press

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - A bill designed to strengthen South Carolina's public records law has passed a House panel, but with a provision that may have doomed the proposal last year.

The House Judiciary Committee agreed Tuesday to remove the exemption for legislators in the state's public record laws as part of a bill to strengthen the Freedom of Information Act. The bill moves on to the full House.

A similar bill was hung up in the Senate last year, with some supporters suggesting lawmakers weren't ready to give up their exemption that keeps the public from seeing their emails and other correspondence.

Supporters think the bill has a chance because it has more time. It would force public agencies to respond to records requests more quickly and bar them from charging excessive fees.

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