McMaster: Public records law 'step forward' in transparency - - Columbia, South Carolina

McMaster: Public records law 'step forward' in transparency

Source: Office of the Governor Source: Office of the Governor

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP/WIS) - Gov. Henry McMaster says a new law closing loopholes in South Carolina's Freedom of Information Act represents "a big step forward" in government transparency.

McMaster ceremoniously signed a law Wednesday that requires state and local governments, school districts, and other public entities to respond more quickly to public records requests and prevents them from charging excessive fees.

The law took effect with McMaster's signature May 19, which capped a seven-year effort to strengthen public access to government records.

“This bill is an important step towards moving government transparency where it needs to be in South Carolina,” McMaster said. “Government has to be accountable to the people it serves, and its citizens should have unimpeded access to public information that speaks to whether or not their best interests are being served.”

McMaster says it doesn't go far enough.

To get past one senator's opposition, the Senate stripped out a section creating a state hearing officer to quickly and cheaply settle disputes.

McMaster says it's "cumbersome" for people to have to sue obstinate government agencies in Circuit Court.

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