This chapter shall be known and cited as the "Freedom of Information Act".
SECTION 30-4-15. Findings and purpose.
The General Assembly finds that it is vital in a democratic society that
public business be performed in an open and public manner so that citizens
shall be advised of the performance of public officials and of the decisions
that are reached in public activity and in the formulation of public policy.
Toward this end, provisions of this chapter must be construed so as to make
it possible for citizens, or their representatives, to learn and report
fully the activities of their public officials at a minimum cost or delay to
the persons seeking access to public documents or meetings.
SECTION 30-4-20. Definitions.
(a) "Public body" means any department of the State, a majority of directors
or their representatives of departments within the executive branch of state
government as outlined in Section 1-30-10, any state board, commission,
agency, and authority, any public or governmental body or political
subdivision of the State, including counties, municipalities, townships,
school districts, and special purpose districts, or any organization,
corporation, or agency supported in whole or in part by public funds or
expending public funds, including committees, subcommittees, advisory
committees, and the like of any such body by whatever name known, and
includes any quasi-governmental body of the State and its political
subdivisions, including, without limitation, bodies such as the South
Carolina Public Service Authority and the South Carolina State Ports
Authority. Committees of health care facilities, which are subject to this
chapter, for medical staff disciplinary proceedings, quality assurance, peer
review, including the medical staff credentialing process, specific medical
case review, and self-evaluation, are not public bodies for the purpose of
(b) "Person" includes any individual, corporation, partnership, firm,
organization or association.
(c) "Public record" includes all books, papers, maps, photographs, cards,
tapes, recordings, or other documentary materials regardless of physical
form or characteristics prepared, owned, used, in the possession of, or
retained by a public body. Records such as income tax returns, medical
records, hospital medical staff reports, scholastic records, adoption
records, records related to registration, and circulation of library
materials which contain names or other personally identifying details
regarding the users of public, private, school, college, technical college,
university, and state institutional libraries and library systems, supported
in whole or in part by public funds or expending public funds, or records
which reveal the identity of the library patron checking out or requesting
an item from the library or using other library services, except
nonidentifying administrative and statistical reports of registration and
circulation, and other records which by law are required to be closed to the
public are not considered to be made open to the public under the provisions
of this act; nothing herein authorizes or requires the disclosure of those
records where the public body, prior to January 20, 1987, by a favorable
vote of three-fourths of the membership, taken after receipt of a written
request, concluded that the public interest was best served by not
disclosing them. Nothing herein authorizes or requires the disclosure of
records of the Board of Financial Institutions pertaining to applications
and surveys for charters and branches of banks and savings and loan
associations or surveys and examinations of the institutions required to be
made by law. Information relating to security plans and devices proposed,
adopted, installed, or utilized by a public body, other than amounts
expended for adoption, implementation, or installation of these plans and
devices, is required to be closed to the public and is not considered to be
made open to the public under the provisions of this act.
(d) "Meeting" means the convening of a quorum of the constituent membership
of a public body, whether corporal or by means of electronic equipment, to
discuss or act upon a matter over which the public body has supervision,
control, jurisdiction or advisory power.
(e) "Quorum" unless otherwise defined by applicable law means a simple
majority of the constituent membership of a public body.
SECTION 30-4-30. Right to inspect or copy public records; fees;
notification as to public availability of records; presumption upon failure
to give notice; records to be available when requestor appears in person.
(A)(1) A person has a right to inspect, copy, or receive
an electronic transmission of any public record of a public body, except as
otherwise provided by Section 30-4-40, or other state and federal laws, in
accordance with reasonable rules concerning time and place of access. This
right does not extend to individuals serving a sentence of imprisonment in a
state or county correctional facility in this State, in another state, or in
a federal correctional facility; however, this may not be construed to
prevent those individuals from exercising their constitutionally protected
rights, including, but not limited to, their right to call for evidence in
their favor in a criminal prosecution under the South Carolina Rules of
A public body is not required to create an electronic version of a public
record when one does not exist to fulfill a records request.
The public body may establish and collect fees as provided for in this
section. The public body may establish and collect reasonable fees not to
exceed the actual cost of the search, retrieval, and redaction of records.
The public body shall develop a fee schedule to be posted online. The fee
for the search, retrieval, or redaction of records shall not exceed the
prorated hourly salary of the lowest paid employee who, in the reasonable
discretion of the custodian of the records, has the necessary skill and
training to perform the request. Fees charged by a public body must be
uniform for copies of the same record or document and may not exceed the
prevailing commercial rate for the producing of copies. Copy charges may not
apply to records that are transmitted in an electronic format. If records
are not in electronic format and the public body agrees to produce them in
electronic format, the public body may charge for the staff time required to
transfer the documents to electronic format. However, members of the General
Assembly may receive copies of records or documents at no charge from public
bodies when their request relates to their legislative duties. The records
must be furnished at the lowest possible cost to the person requesting the
records. Records must be provided in a form that is both convenient and
practical for use by the person requesting copies of the records concerned,
if it is equally convenient for the public body to provide the records in
this form. Documents may be furnished when appropriate without charge or at
a reduced charge where the agency determines that waiver or reduction of the
fee is in the public interest because furnishing the information can be
considered as primarily benefiting the general public. Fees may not be
charged for examination and review to determine if the documents are subject
to disclosure. A deposit not to exceed twenty-five percent of the total
reasonably anticipated cost for reproduction of the records may be required
prior to the public body searching for or making copies of records.
Each public body, upon written request for records made under this chapter,
shall within ten days (excepting Saturdays, Sundays, and legal public
holidays) of the receipt of the request, notify the person making the
request of its determination and the reasons for it; provided, however, that
if the record is more than twenty-four months old at the date the request is
made, the public body has twenty days (excepting Saturdays, Sundays, and
legal public holidays) of the receipt to make this notification. This
determination must constitute the final opinion of the public body as to the
public availability of the requested public record, however, the
determination is not required to include a final decision or express an
opinion as to whether specific portions of the documents or information may
be subject to redaction according to exemptions provided for by Section
30-4-40 or other state or federal laws. If the request is granted, the
record must be furnished or made available for inspection or copying no
later than thirty calendar days from the date on which the final
determination was provided, unless the records are more than twenty-four
months old, in which case the public body has no later than thirty-five
calendar days from the date on which the final determination was provided.
If a deposit as provided in subsection (B) is required by the public body,
the record must be furnished or made available for inspection or copying no
later than thirty calendar days from the date on which the deposit is
received, unless the records are more than twenty-four months old, in which
case the public body has no later than thirty-five calendar days from the
date on which the deposit was received to fulfill the request. The full
amount of the total cost must be paid at the time of the production of the
request. If written notification of the determination of the public body as
to the availability of the requested public record is neither mailed,
electronically transmitted, nor personally delivered to the person
requesting the document within the time set forth by this section, the
request must be considered approved as to nonexempt records or information.
Exemptions from disclosure as set forth in Section 30-4-40 or by other state
or federal laws are not waived by the public body's failure to respond as
set forth in this subsection. The various response, determination, and
production deadlines provided by this subsection are subject to extension by
written mutual agreement of the public body and the requesting party at
issue, and this agreement shall not be unreasonably withheld.
The following records of a public body must be made available for public
inspection and copying during the hours of operations of the public body,
unless the record is exempt pursuant to Section 30-4-40 or other state or
federal laws, without the requestor being required to make a written request
to inspect or copy the records when the requestor appears in person:
minutes of the meetings of the public body for the preceding six months;
all reports identified in Section 30-4-50(A)(8) for at least the
fourteen-day period before the current day;
documents identifying persons confined in a jail, detention center, or
prison for the preceding three months; and
all documents produced by the public body or its agent that were distributed
to or reviewed by a member of the public body during a public meeting for
the preceding six-month period.
A public body that places the records in a form that is both convenient and
practical for use on a publicly available Internet website is deemed to be
in compliance with the provisions of subsection (D), provided that the
public body also shall produce documents pursuant to this section upon
SECTION 30-4-40. Matters exempt from disclosure.
(a) A public body may but is not required to exempt from disclosure the
(1) Trade secrets, which are defined as unpatented, secret, commercially
valuable plans, appliances, formulas, or processes, which are used for the
making, preparing, compounding, treating, or processing of articles or
materials which are trade commodities obtained from a person and which are
generally recognized as confidential and work products, in whole or in part
collected or produced for sale or resale, and paid subscriber information.
Trade secrets also include, for those public bodies who market services or
products in competition with others, feasibility, planning, and marketing
studies, marine terminal service and nontariff agreements, and evaluations
and other materials which contain references to potential customers,
competitive information, or evaluation.
Information of a personal nature where the public disclosure thereof would
constitute unreasonable invasion of personal privacy. Information of a
personal nature shall include, but not be limited to, information as to
gross receipts contained in applications for business licenses , information
relating to public records which include the name, address, and telephone
number or other such information of an individual or individuals who are
handicapped or disabled when the information is requested for
person-to-person commercial solicitation of handicapped persons solely by
virtue of their handicap, and any audio recording of the final statements of
a dying victim in a call to 911 emergency services. Any audio of the
victim's statements must be redacted prior to the release of the recording
unless the privacy interest is waived by the victim's next of kin. This
provision must not be interpreted to restrict access by the public and press
to information contained in public records.
(3) Records, video or audio recordings,
or other information compiled for law enforcement purposes, but only to the
extent that the production of such law enforcement records or information:
would interfere with a
prospective law enforcement proceeding;
would deprive a person of a
right to a fair trial or an impartial adjudication;
would constitute an
unreasonable invasion of personal privacy;
would disclose the identity
of a confidential source, including a state, local, or foreign agency or
authority or any private institution which furnished information on a
confidential basis, and, in the case of a record or information compiled by
criminal law enforcement authority in the course of a criminal
investigation, by an agency conducting a lawful security intelligence
investigation, or information furnished by a confidential source;
would disclose current
techniques and procedures for law enforcement investigations or
prosecutions, or would disclose current guidelines for law enforcement
investigations or prosecutions if such disclosure would risk circumvention
of the law;
would endanger the life or
physical safety of any individual;
would disclose any contents
of intercepted wire, oral, or electronic communications not otherwise
disclosed during a trial.
(6) All compensation paid by public bodies except as follows:
(A) For those persons receiving compensation of fifty thousand dollars or
more annually, for all part-time employees, for any other persons who are
paid honoraria or other compensation for special appearances, performances,
or the like, and for employees at the level of agency or department head,
the exact compensation of each person or employee;
(B) For classified and unclassified employees, including contract
instructional employees, not subject to item (A) above who receive
compensation between, but not including, thirty thousand dollars and fifty
thousand dollars annually, the compensation level within a range of four
thousand dollars, such ranges to commence at thirty thousand dollars and
increase in increments of four thousand dollars;
(C) For classified employees not subject to item (A) above who receive
compensation of thirty thousand dollars or less annually, the salary
schedule showing the compensation range for that classification including
longevity steps, where applicable;
(D) For unclassified employees, including contract instructional employees,
not subject to item (A) above who receive compensation of thirty thousand
dollars or less annually, the compensation level within a range of four
thousand dollars, such ranges to commence at two thousand dollars and
increase in increments of four thousand dollars.
(E) For purposes of this subsection (6), "agency head" or "department head"
means any person who has authority and responsibility for any department of
any institution, board, commission, council, division, bureau, center,
school, hospital, or other facility that is a unit of a public body.
(7) Correspondence or work products of legal counsel for a public body and
any other material that would violate attorney-client relationships.
(8) Memoranda, correspondence, and working papers in the possession of
individual members of the General Assembly or their immediate staffs;
however, nothing herein may be construed as limiting or restricting public
access to source documents or records, factual data or summaries of factual
data, papers, minutes, or reports otherwise considered to be public
information under the provisions of this chapter and not specifically
exempted by any other provisions of this chapter.
(9) Memoranda, correspondence, documents, and working papers relative to
efforts or activities of a public body and of a person or entity employed by
or authorized to act for or on behalf of a public body to attract business
or industry to invest within South Carolina; however, an incentive agreement
made with an industry or business: (1) requiring the expenditure of public
funds or the transfer of anything of value, (2) reducing the rate or
altering the method of taxation of the business or industry, or (3)
otherwise impacting the offeror fiscally, is not exempt from disclosure
(a) the offer to attract an industry or business to invest or locate in the
offeror's jurisdiction is accepted by the industry or business to whom the
offer was made; and
(b) the public announcement of the project or finalization of any incentive
agreement, whichever occurs later.
(10) Any standards used or to be used by the South Carolina Department of
Revenue for the selection of returns for examination, or data used or to be
used for determining such standards, if the commission determines that such
disclosure would seriously impair assessment, collection, or enforcement
under the tax laws of this State.
(11) Information relative to the identity of the maker of a gift to a public
body if the maker specifies that his making of the gift must be anonymous
and that his identity must not be revealed as a condition of making the
gift. For the purposes of this item, "gift to a public body" includes, but
is not limited to, gifts to any of the state-supported colleges or
universities and museums. With respect to the gifts, only information which
identifies the maker may be exempt from disclosure. If the maker of any gift
or any member of his immediate family has any business transaction with the
recipient of the gift within three years before or after the gift is made,
the identity of the maker is not exempt from disclosure.
(12) Records exempt pursuant to Section 9-16-80(B) and 9-16-320(D).
(13) All materials, regardless of form, gathered by a public body during a
search to fill an employment position, except that materials relating to not
fewer than the final three applicants under consideration for a position
must be made available for public inspection and copying. In addition to
making available for public inspection and copying the materials described
in this item, the public body must disclose, upon request, the number of
applicants considered for a position. For the purpose of this item
"materials relating to not fewer than the final three applicants" do not
include an applicant's income tax returns, medical records, social security
number, or information otherwise exempt from disclosure by this section.
(14)(A) Data, records, or information of a proprietary nature, produced or
collected by or for faculty or staff of state institutions of higher
education in the conduct of or as a result of study or research on
commercial, scientific, technical, or scholarly issues, whether sponsored by
the institution alone or in conjunction with a governmental body or private
concern, where the data, records, or information has not been publicly
released, published, copyrighted, or patented.
(B) Any data, records, or information developed, collected, or received by
or on behalf of faculty, staff, employees, or students of a state
institution of higher education or any public or private entity supporting
or participating in the activities of a state institution of higher
education in the conduct of or as a result of study or research on medical,
scientific, technical, scholarly, or artistic issues, whether sponsored by
the institution alone or in conjunction with a governmental body or private
entity until the information is published, patented, otherwise publicly
disseminated, or released to an agency whereupon the request must be made to
the agency. This item applies to, but is not limited to, information
provided by participants in research, research notes and data, discoveries,
research projects, proposals, methodologies, protocols, and creative works.
(C) The exemptions in this item do not extend to the institution's financial
or administrative records.
(15) The identity, or information tending to reveal the identity, of any
individual who in good faith makes a complaint or otherwise discloses
information, which alleges a violation or potential violation of law or
regulation, to a state regulatory agency.
(16) Records exempt pursuant to Sections 59-153-80(B) and 59-153-320(D).
(17) Structural bridge plans or designs unless: (a) the release is necessary
for procurement purposes; or (b) the plans or designs are the subject of a
negligence action, an action set forth in Section 15-3-530, or an action
brought pursuant to Chapter 78 of Title 15, and the request is made pursuant
to a judicial order.
(18) Photographs, videos, and other visual images, and audio recordings of
and related to the performance of an autopsy, except that the photographs,
videos, images, or recordings may be viewed and used by the persons
identified in Section 17-5-535 for the purposes contemplated or provided for
in that section.
(19) Private investment and other proprietary financial data provided to the
Venture Capital Authority by a designated investor group or an investor as
those terms are defined by Section 11-45-30.
(b) If any public record contains material which is not exempt under
subsection (a) of this section, the public body shall separate the exempt
and nonexempt material and make the nonexempt material available in
accordance with the requirements of this chapter.
(c) Information identified in accordance with the provisions of Section
30-4-45 is exempt from disclosure except as provided therein and pursuant to
regulations promulgated in accordance with this chapter. Sections 30-4-30,
30-4-50, and 30-4-100 notwithstanding, no custodian of information subject
to the provisions of Section 30-4-45 shall release the information except as
provided therein and pursuant to regulations promulgated in accordance with
SECTION 30-4-45. Information concerning safeguards and off-site
consequence analyses; regulation of access; vulnerable zone defined.
(A) The director of each agency that is the custodian of information subject
to the provisions of 42 U.S.C. 7412(r)(7)(H), 40 CFR 1400 "Distribution of
Off-site Consequence Analysis Information", or 10 CFR 73.21 "Requirements
for the protection of safeguards information", must establish procedures to
ensure that the information is released only in accordance with the
applicable federal provisions.
(B) The director of each agency that is the custodian of information, the
unrestricted release of which could increase the risk of acts of terrorism,
may identify the information or compilations of information by notifying the
Attorney General in writing, and shall promulgate regulations in accordance
with the Administrative Procedures Act, Sections 1-23-110 through
1-23-120(a) and Section 1-23-130, to regulate access to the information in
accordance with the provisions of this section.
(C) Regulations to govern access to information subject to subsections (A)
and (B) must at a minimum provide for:
(1) disclosure of information to state, federal, and local authorities as
required to carry out governmental functions; and
(2) disclosure of information to persons who live or work within a
For purposes of this section, "vulnerable zone" is defined as a circle, the
center of which is within the boundaries of a facility possessing hazardous,
toxic, flammable, radioactive, or infectious materials subject to this
section, and the radius of which is that distance a hazardous, toxic,
flammable, radioactive, or infectious cloud, overpressure, radiation, or
radiant heat would travel before dissipating to the point it no longer
threatens serious short-term harm to people or the environment.
Disclosure of information pursuant to this subsection must be by means that
will prevent its removal or mechanical reproduction. Disclosure of
information pursuant to this subsection must be made only after the
custodian has ascertained the person's identity by viewing photo
identification issued by a federal, state, or local government agency to the
person and after the person has signed a register kept for the purpose.
SECTION 30-4-50. Certain matters declared public information; use
of information for commercial solicitation prohibited.
Without limiting the meaning of other sections of this chapter, the
following categories of information are specifically made public information
subject to the restrictions and limitations of Sections 30-4-20, 30-4-40,
and 30-4-70 of this chapter:
the names, sex, race, title,
and dates of employment of all employees and officers of public bodies;
administrative staff manuals
and instructions to staff that affect a member of the public;
final opinions, including
concurring and dissenting opinions, as well as orders, made in the
adjudication of cases;
those statements of policy
and interpretations of policy, statute, and the Constitution which have been
adopted by the public body;
written planning policies
and goals and final planning decisions;
information in or taken from
any account, voucher, or contract dealing with the receipt or expenditure of
public or other funds by public bodies;
the minutes of all
proceedings of all public bodies and all votes at such proceedings, with the
exception of all such minutes and votes taken at meetings closed to the
public pursuant to Section 30-4-70;
reports which disclose the
nature, substance, and location of any crime or alleged crime reported as
having been committed. Where a report contains information exempt as
otherwise provided by law, the law enforcement agency may delete that
information from the report.
(9) notwithstanding any other provision of the law,
data from a video or audio recording made by a law enforcement
vehicle-mounted recording device or dashboard camera that involves an
officer involved incident resulting in death, injury, property damage, or
the use of deadly force.
A law enforcement or public
safety agency may apply to the circuit court for an order to prevent the
disclosure of the video or audio recording data. Notice of the request and
of the hearing must be provided to the person seeking the record. A hearing
must be requested within fifteen days (excepting Saturdays, Sundays, and
legal public holidays) of the receipt of the request for disclosure and the
hearing shall be held in camera.
The court may order the
recording data not be disclosed upon a showing by clear and convincing
evidence that the recording is exempt from disclosure as specified in
Section 30-4-40(a)(3) and that the reason for the exemption outweighs the
public interest in disclosure. A court may order the recording data be
edited to redact specific portions of the data and then released, upon a
showing by clear and convincing evidence that portions of the recording are
not exempt from disclosure as specified in Section 30-4-40(a)(3).
A court order to withhold
the release of recording data under this section must specify a definite
time period for the withholding of the release of the recording data and
must include the court's findings.
A copy of the order shall be made available to the person requesting the
release of the recording data.
(10) statistical and other empirical findings
considered by the Legislative Audit Council in the development of an audit
(B) No information contained in a police incident
report or in an employee salary schedule revealed in response to a request
pursuant to this chapter may be utilized for commercial solicitation. Also,
the home addresses and home telephone numbers of employees and officers of
public bodies revealed in response to a request pursuant to this chapter may
not be utilized for commercial solicitation. However, this provision must
not be interpreted to restrict access by the public and press to information
contained in public records.
SECTION 30-4-55. Disclosure of fiscal impact on public bodies
offering economic incentives to business; cost-benefit analysis required.
A public body as defined by Section 30-4-20(a), or a person or entity
employed by or authorized to act for or on behalf of a public body, that
undertakes to attract business or industry to invest or locate in South
Carolina by offering incentives that require the expenditure of public funds
or the transfer of anything of value or that reduce the rate or alter the
method of taxation of the business or industry or that otherwise impact the
offeror fiscally, must disclose, upon request, the fiscal impact of the
offer on the public body and a governmental entity affected by the offer
(a) the offered incentive or expenditure is accepted, and
(b) the project has been publicly announced or any incentive agreement has
been finalized, whichever occurs later.
The fiscal impact disclosure must include a cost-benefit analysis that
compares the anticipated public cost of the commitments with the anticipated
public benefits. Notwithstanding the requirements of this section,
information that is otherwise exempt from disclosure under Section
30-4-40(a)(1), (a)(5)(c), and (a)(9) remains exempt from disclosure.
SECTION 30-4-60. Meetings of public bodies shall be open.
Every meeting of all public bodies shall be open to the public unless closed
pursuant to § 30-4-70 of this chapter.
SECTION 30-4-65. Cabinet meetings subject to chapter provisions;
(A) The Governor's cabinet meetings are subject to the provisions of this
chapter only when the Governor's cabinet is convened to discuss or act upon
a matter over which the Governor has granted to the cabinet, by executive
order, supervision, control, jurisdiction, or advisory power.
(B) For purposes of this chapter, "cabinet" means the directors of the
departments of the executive branch of state government appointed by the
Governor pursuant to the provisions of Section 1-30-10(B)(1)(i) when they
meet as a group and a quorum is present.
SECTION 30-4-70. Meetings which may be closed; procedure;
circumvention of chapter; disruption of meeting; executive sessions of
(a) A public body may hold a meeting closed to the public for one or more of
the following reasons:
(1) Discussion of employment, appointment, compensation, promotion,
demotion, discipline, or release of an employee, a student, or a person
regulated by a public body or the appointment of a person to a public body;
however, if an adversary hearing involving the employee or client is held,
the employee or client has the right to demand that the hearing be conducted
publicly. Nothing contained in this item shall prevent the public body, in
its discretion, from deleting the names of the other employees or clients
whose records are submitted for use at the hearing.
(2) Discussion of negotiations incident to proposed contractual arrangements
and proposed sale or purchase of property, the receipt of legal advice where
the legal advice relates to a pending, threatened, or potential claim or
other matters covered by the attorney-client privilege, settlement of legal
claims, or the position of the public agency in other adversary situations
involving the assertion against the agency of a claim.
(3) Discussion regarding the development of security personnel or devices.
(4) Investigative proceedings regarding allegations of criminal misconduct.
(5) Discussion of matters relating to the proposed location, expansion, or
the provision of services encouraging location or expansion of industries or
other businesses in the area served by the public body.
(6) The Retirement System Investment Commission, if the meeting is in
executive session specifically pursuant to Section 9-16-80(A) or
(b) Before going into executive session the public agency shall vote in
public on the question and when the vote is favorable, the presiding officer
shall announce the specific purpose of the executive session. As used in
this subsection, "specific purpose" means a description of the matter to be
discussed as identified in items (1) through (5) of subsection (a) of this
section. However, when the executive session is held pursuant to Sections
30-4-70(a)(1) or 30-4-70(a)(5), the identity of the individual or entity
being discussed is not required to be disclosed to satisfy the requirement
that the specific purpose of the executive session be stated. No action may
be taken in executive session except to (a) adjourn or (b) return to public
session. The members of a public body may not commit the public body to a
course of action by a polling of members in executive session.
(c) No chance meeting, social meeting, or electronic communication may be
used in circumvention of the spirit of requirements of this chapter to act
upon a matter over which the public body has supervision, control,
jurisdiction, or advisory power.
(d) This chapter does not prohibit the removal of any person who wilfully
disrupts a meeting to the extent that orderly conduct of the meeting is
(e) Sessions of the General Assembly may enter into executive sessions
authorized by the Constitution of this State and rules adopted pursuant
(f) The Board of Trustees of the respective institution of higher learning,
while meeting as the trustee of its endowment funds, if the meeting is in
executive session specifically pursuant to Sections 59-153-80(A) or
SECTION 30-4-80. Notice of meetings of public bodies.
(a) All public bodies, except as provided in subsections (b) and (c) of
this section, must give written public notice of their regular meetings at
the beginning of each calendar year. The notice must include the dates,
times, and places of such meetings. An agenda for regularly scheduled or
special meetings must be posted on a bulletin board in a publicly accessible
place at the office or meeting place of the public body and on a public
website maintained by the body, if any, at least twenty-four hours prior to
such meetings. All public bodies must post on such bulletin board or
website, if any, public notice for any called, special, or rescheduled
meetings. Such notice must include the agenda, date, time, and place of the
meeting, and must be posted as early as is practicable but not later than
twenty-four hours before the meeting. This requirement does not apply to
emergency meetings of public bodies. Once an agenda for a regular, called,
special, or rescheduled meeting is posted pursuant to this subsection, no
items may be added to the agenda without an additional twenty-four hours’
notice to the public, which must be made in the same manner as the original
posting. After the meeting begins, an item upon which action can be taken
only may be added to the agenda by a two-thirds vote of the members present
and voting; however, if the item is one upon which final action can be taken
at the meeting or if the item is one in which there has not been and will
not be an opportunity for public comment with prior public notice given in
accordance with this section, it only may be added to the agenda by a
two-thirds vote of the members present and voting and upon a finding by the
body that an emergency or an exigent circumstance exists if the item is not
added to the agenda. Nothing herein relieves a public body of any notice
requirement with regard to any statutorily required public hearing.
(b) Legislative committees must post their meeting times during weeks of
the regular session of the General Assembly and must comply with the
provisions for notice of special meetings during those weeks when the
General Assembly is not in session. Subcommittees of standing legislative
committees must give notice during weeks of the legislative session only if
it is practicable to do so.
(c) Subcommittees, other than legislative subcommittees, of committees
required to give notice under subsection (a), must make reasonable and
timely efforts to give notice of their meetings.
(d) Written public notice must include but need not be limited to
posting a copy of the notice at the principal office of the public body
holding the meeting or, if no such office exists, at the building in which
the meeting is to be held.
(e) All public bodies shall notify persons or organizations, local news
media, or such other news media as may request notification of the times,
dates, places, and agenda of all public meetings, whether scheduled,
rescheduled, or called, and the efforts made to comply with this requirement
must be noted in the minutes of the meetings
SECTION 30-4-90. Minutes of meetings of public bodies.
(a) All public bodies shall keep written minutes of all of their public
meetings. Such minutes shall include but need not be limited to:
(1) The date, time and place of the meeting.
(2) The members of the public body recorded as either present or absent.
(3) The substance of all matters proposed, discussed or decided and, at the
request of any member, a record, by an individual member, of any votes
(4) Any other information that any member of the public body requests be
included or reflected in the minutes.
(b) The minutes shall be public records and shall be available within a
reasonable time after the meeting except where such disclosures would be
inconsistent with § 30-4-70 of this chapter.
(c) All or any part of a meeting of a public body may be recorded by any
person in attendance by means of a tape recorder or any other means of sonic
or video reproduction, except when a meeting is closed pursuant to Section
30-4-70 of this chapter, provided that in so recording there is no active
interference with the conduct of the meeting. Provided, further, that the
public body is not required to furnish recording facilities or equipment.
SECTION 30-4-100. Injunctive relief; costs and attorney's fees.
(A) A citizen of the State may apply to the circuit court
for a declaratory judgment, injunctive relief, or both, to enforce the
provisions of this chapter in appropriate cases if the application is made
no later than one year after the date of the alleged violation or one year
after a public vote in public session, whichever comes later. Upon the
filing of the request for declaratory judgment or injunctive relief related
to provisions of this chapter, the chief administrative judge of the circuit
court must schedule an initial hearing within ten days of the service on all
parties. If the hearing court is unable to make a final ruling at the
initial hearing, the court shall establish a scheduling order to conclude
actions brought pursuant to this chapter within six months of initial
filing. The court may extend this time period upon a showing of good cause.
The court may order equitable relief as it considers appropriate, and a
violation of this chapter must be considered to be an irreparable injury for
which no adequate remedy at law exists.
(B) If a person or entity seeking
relief under this section prevails, he may be awarded reasonable attorney's
fees and other costs of litigation specific to the request. If the person or
entity prevails in part, the court may in its discretion award him
reasonable attorney's fees or an appropriate portion of those attorney's
SECTION 30-4-110. Penalties.
(A) A public body may file a request for hearing with the
circuit court to seek relief from unduly burdensome, overly broad, vague,
repetitive, or otherwise improper requests, or where it has received a
request but it is unable to make a good faith determination as to whether
the information is exempt from disclosure.
(B) If a request for disclosure may
result in the release of records or information exempt from disclosure under
Section 30-4-40(a)(1), (2), (4), (5), (9), (14), (15), or (19), a person or
entity with a specific interest in the underlying records or information
shall have the right to request a hearing with the court or to intervene in
an action previously filed.
(C) If a person or entity seeking
relief under this section prevails, the court may order:
(1) equitable relief as he considers
(2) actual or compensatory damages; or
(3) reasonable attorney's fees and
other costs of litigation specific to the request, unless there is a finding
of good faith. The finding of good faith is a bar to the award of attorney's
fees and costs.
(D) If a court determines that records
are not subject to disclosure, the determination constitutes a finding of
good faith on the part of the public body or public official, and acts as a
complete bar against the award of attorney's fees or other costs to the
prevailing party should the court's determination be reversed on appeal.
(E) If the person or entity prevails in
part, he may be awarded reasonable attorney's fees or other costs of
litigation specific to the request, or an appropriate portion thereof,
unless otherwise barred.
(F) If the court
finds that the public body has arbitrarily and capriciously violated the
provisions of this chapter by refusal or delay in disclosing or providing
copies of a public record, it may, in addition to actual or compensatory
damages or equitable relief, impose a civil fine of five hundred dollars.
SECTION 30-4-160. Sale of Social Security number or driver's
license photograph or signature.
(A) This chapter does not allow the Department of Motor Vehicles to sell,
provide, or otherwise furnish to a private party Social Security numbers in
its records, copies of photographs, or signatures, whether digitized or not,
taken for the purpose of a driver's license or personal identification card.
(B) Photographs, signatures, and digitized images from a driver's license or
personal identification card are not public records.
SECTION 30-4-165. Privacy of driver's license information.
(A) The Department of Motor Vehicles may not sell, provide, or furnish to a
private party a person's height, weight, race, social security number,
photograph, or signature in any form that has been compiled for the purpose
of issuing the person a driver's license or special identification card. The
department shall not release to a private party any part of the record of a
person under fifteen years of age who has applied for or has been issued a
special identification card.
(B) A person's height, weight, race, photograph, signature, and digitized
image contained in his driver's license or special identification card
record are not public records.
(C) Notwithstanding another provision of law, a private person or private
entity shall not use an electronically-stored version of a person's
photograph, social security number, height, weight, race, or signature for
any purpose, when the electronically-stored information was obtained from a
driver's license record.
NOTE: These amendments are in
the Family Privacy Protection Act….
Section 30-2-50. (A)
A person or private entity shall not knowingly obtain or use personal
information obtained from a state agency, a local government, or other
political subdivision of the State for commercial solicitation directed to
any person in this State.
(B) Each state agency, local
government, and political subdivision of the State shall provide a notice to
all requestors of records pursuant to this chapter and to all persons who
obtain records pursuant to this chapter that obtaining or using public
records for commercial solicitation directed to any person in this State is
(C) All state agencies, local
governments, and political subdivisions of the State shall take reasonable
measures to ensure that no person or private entity obtains or distributes
personal information obtained from a public record for commercial
(D) A person knowingly violating the
provisions of subsection (A) is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon
conviction, must be fined an amount not to exceed five hundred dollars or
imprisoned for a term not to exceed one year, or both.