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Senate panel takes more testimony over bill to create new office for public records disputes

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COLUMBIA, South Carolina — A Senate subcommittee has taken more testimony on a bill that would overhaul South Carolina's open records law.

Senators on Wednesday questioned representatives from the South Carolina Bar Association about suggested changes to the proposed Office of Freedom of Information Act, such as to whom conflicts would be appealed.

Last week, two newspaper editors told lawmakers the proposal would provide a cheaper way to fight governments when records requests are denied. Currently, a fight over an open records request must go straight to Circuit Court, which can be expensive.

The bill has already passed the House and makes several public records law changes, including clarifying how quickly governments must respond to requests and preventing them from charging excessive fees.

Chairman Chip Campsen said the subcommittee would schedule another meeting.

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