Perspective: Freedom of Information

You have a right to know how your local and state government is being run. Not only do you deserve to know how leaders are making decisions, the law requires it.

The Freedom of Information Act was designed to ensure public business is handled in an open and public manner.

WIS investigates stories on your behalf to shed light on why decisions are made, who is making them and how taxpayers' funds are being used to support them. Some agencies in the Midlands and across our state understand the law requires this level of transparency. Others simply avoid our requests, create their own interpretation of what is required by law, or want to charge outlandish costs to receive basic information. Fairfield County, for example, threatened to charge WIS 26-thousand dollars for email records, and we still haven't gotten clear answers surrounding the retirement payout for former Columbia Police Chief Randy Scott.

Local and state agencies that choose not to follow the law may not face stiff penalties until a stronger Freedom of Information Law is presented in South Carolina. In the meantime, they risk perhaps a greater penalty… losing the confidence of the voting public who deserves more transparency.

That's my perspective. What's yours?

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