The South Carolina Supreme Court issued an opinion this week in Perry v Bullock.
The Court ruled that an autopsy report is exempt from the Freedom of Information Act ("FOIA") disclosure requirements. This is the second opinion in the last month by the Court that restricts the reach of the FOIA.
In June the Court issued an opinion in Lambries v Saluda County Coucil that nothing in the FOIA bars public bodies from adding agenda items without advance notice during open meetings or requires them to even have an agenda in the first place.
The Court said in the Perry v Bullock decision, "although there may be policy concerns militating against this result, that is a matter for the legislature and not for this Court."
In both of these decisions the Court appears to suggest that the Legislature should amend the FOIA statute. Senator Larry Martin, Chairman of the Judiciary Committee told The Greenville News last month that he wants to take a look revising the law "and come down on the side of this with as much openness as we can."
These two Supreme Court decisions certainly suggest the Legislature next Session may review and revise the FOIA. Any changes in the FOIA would impact any public body such as a city, county, public hospital, or special purpose district, or any client that deals with a public body. Nexsen Pruet's Public Policy and Government Affairs Group will keep you posted.