Loopholes in SC’s public records law could be closed

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – Legislation closing loopholes in South Carolina’s open records law is poised to becoming law, but without a key provision that would have enabled the public to get data from obstinate government agencies without hiring a lawyer.

The Senate on Thursday approved a bill designed to strengthen public’s access to government records after stripping out a provision creating a hearing officer to quickly and cheaply settle disputes over requested information.

Sen. Margie Bright Matthews insisted on the change. The Walterboro Democrat says she opposed a new hearing officer’s estimated $140,000 cost.

The bill’s House co-sponsors say they will urge their colleagues to accept the changes and send the bill to Gov. Henry McMaster, rather than risk it dying again. Reps. Weston Newton and Bill Taylor say the bill is still progress.

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