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3949Type of Legislation: General Bill GBIntroducing Body: HouseIntroduced Date: 20010418Primary Sponsor: McGeeAll Sponsors: McGee and CoatesDrafted Document Number: l:\council\bills\gjk\20468sd01.docResiding Body: HouseCurrent Committee: Judiciary Committee 25 HJSubject: Public records, provisions for answering request and filing contested case proceeding; copies of; Freedom of InformationHistory Body Date Action Description Com Leg Involved ______ ________ ______________________________________ _______ ____________ House 20010418 Introduced, read first time, 25 HJ referred to Committee Versions of This Bill
TO AMEND SECTION 30-4-30, AS AMENDED, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, RELATING TO THE RIGHT TO INSPECT OR COPY PUBLIC RECORDS UNDER THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT, SO AS TO PROVIDE THAT REQUESTS MUST BE ANSWERED WITHIN THREE DAYS OF RECEIPT RATHER THAN FIFTEEN DAYS, TO PROVIDE THAT THE FAILURE TO RESPOND BARS THE ASSERTION OF ANY CLAIM OF EXEMPTION FROM DISCLOSURE, AND TO PROVIDE FOR FURTHER CONDITIONS, REQUIREMENTS, PROCEDURES, AND REMEDIES IN REGARD TO PROVIDING COPIES OF THESE RECORDS.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
SECTION 1. Section 30-4-30(c) of the 1976 Code is amended to read:
"(c) Each public body, upon written request for records made under this chapter, shall as soon as practicable but no later than within
fifteen three days (excepting Saturdays, Sundays, and legal public holidays) of the receipt of any such the request notify the person making such the request of its determination and the specific reasons therefore if the request is denied. Such a determination shall constitute the final opinion of the public body as to the public availability of the requested public record and, if the request is granted, the record must be furnished or made available immediately for inspection or copying. If written notification of the determination of the public body as to the availability of the requested public record is neither mailed nor personally delivered to the person requesting the document public record within the fifteen three days allowed herein, the request must be considered approved granted, and the public body may not thereafter except upon a showing of excusable neglect or compelling governmental interest in secrecy assert that the public record or any portion of it is exempt from disclosure. If the public body is unable to locate the requested public record or make it available within the three days allowed herein, it must state in writing mailed or delivered personally to the person requesting the public record the reason for the delay. Unless the person requesting the public record upon receipt of a delay notice from the public body consents to enlarge the time for making the public record available for inspection and copying, the public body must make the public record available within fifteen days (including Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays) of the request. If the public body does not make the record available for inspection or copying within the time required by this section, or the time agreed to between the public body and the requesting party, the public body may not thereafter except upon a showing of excusable neglect or compelling governmental interest in secrecy assert that the public record or any portion of it is exempt from the disclosure requirements of this section. If the person requesting records chooses to challenge the public body's claim that its response was untimely due to excusable neglect or the claim that there is a compelling governmental interest in secrecy, the requesting party may obtain a declaration from the Administrative Law Judge Division ordering disclosure by filing a contested case proceeding before the Administrative Law Judge Division pursuant to the Administrative Procedures Act. If the public body fails to prove to the satisfaction of the Administrative Law Judge Division that its untimely response was a consequence of excusable neglect, or that there is a compelling governmental interest in secrecy, the public body must pay the requesting party's attorney's fees and costs for the proceeding before the Administrative Law Judge Division, and provide the requested records immediately upon receipt of the order from the Administrative Law Judge."
SECTION 2. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.
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