SC local governments oppose bill on public records


COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina residents say a bill strengthening the state's public records law is desperately needed, but advocates for local governments and law enforcement argue the proposal goes too far.

A House panel took testimony Thursday on a bill designed to force public agencies, governments and school districts to respond more quickly to Freedom of Information Act requests and to bar them from charging excessive fees.

Sponsoring Rep. Bill Taylor says governments are getting away with stonewalling requests under the current law.

Those applauding the bill include Alberta Wasden, who says the town of Swansea tried to charge her $10,000 for copies of budgets and board meetings.

But representatives of law enforcement, counties, and cities complain the quicker turn-around required and inability to charge administrative fees create an undue burden.

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