FOI Resources and Guides
Read the S.C. Freedom of Information Act (Please note the new law went into effect May 19, 2017. Here are the changes to the FOIA from H.3352.)
Public Official's Guide to Compliance with the Freedom of Information Act - This version was last updated in Nov. 2015. SCPA is currently working on updating the book to reflect passage of H. 3352. A new booklet will be available in June 2017. The entire text of the law is contained in this guide, as well as a section-by-section explanation of the law. These plain language interpretations were written by SCPA Attorney Jay Bender and FOI Committee Chairman Emeritus John Shurr. Download FOI Booklet. Printed booklets of the Public Official's Guide to Compliance with the Freedom of Information Act are $3, which includes shipping, and can be ordered by email.
Need a quick guide to the FOIA? Check out our Citizen's Guide to the FOIA.
How to file an FOI request
How to respond to an FOI request
Detailed report on other state laws and regulations deal with the release of public information, by USC graduate student Katie Beck
What to do when they close court or meeting
Cameras in the Courtroom
Easy to understand flowchart on agendas and the FOIA
SCPA Freedom of Information Committee
SCPA's FOI Committee is charged with the following tasks and responsibilities:
- Dealing with open government issues and initiatives
- Setting long-term FOI objectives and priorities
- To determine positions on particular bills if needed
- To advise the professional staff on how particular FOI issues and bills will affect the industry
- To assist in direct lobbying contact as set out by the committee, the chairman or the executive director
- To assist in administering FOI Fund assistance through its chairperson
SCPA's FOI Committee Members for 2016-2017:
- Richard S. Whiting, FOI Chair
Phone: (864) 223-1411
- Jay Bender, Attorney, S.C. Press Association
- Mark Lett,
- Don Kausler Jr., Morning News,
- Reaves McLeod, The Colletonian, Walterboro
- Patricia O'Connor, Coastal Carolina University
- Graham Osteen, The Sumter Item
- Mitch Pugh, The Post and Courier,
- Michael Smith, Aiken Standard
- Mike Smith, Herald-Journal,
- Gina Smith, The Island Packet,
Hilton Head Island
- Taylor M. Smith IV, Attorney, S.C. Press Association
- Bill Rogers, Executive Director
S.C. Press Association
Phone: (803) 750-9561
- Jen Madden, Assistant Director
S.C. Press Association
Phone: (803) 750-9561
Additional FOI Resources
Open Government Guide for South Carolina
Prepared by SCPA Attorney Jay Bender for the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. This online guide includes: categories, including access to government budgets, epidemiological records and economic development records; specific category breakdowns on access to email, real estate and investigatory records, which enable users to better find and compare information.
Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press
The RCFP is one of the major sources of information on what's happening in media law and publishes News Media and Law, a comprehensive examination of media law issues and cases.
National Freedom of Information Coalition
This umbrella organization for the state freedom of information groups holds a yearly conference to discuss problems in the states. Their website provides contact information for all state FOI groups and other related links. SCPA's FOI Committee is the NFOIC's affiliate for the Palmetto State.
S.C. FOI News
SCPA shares news related to the FOIA on our Facebook page daily. We also offer a weekly recap of FOI news and analysis in our eBulletin newsletter. View past issues and subscribe. Visit If you have FOI news to share, contact Jen Madden.
Do you have questions about what is or isn’t a public record or open meeting? SCPA members with an FOI question may call the FOI Hotline at (803) 750-9561 or email SCPA.
Sunshine Week, an annual nationwide celebration of access to public information and what it means for you and your community, will take place March 11-17, 2018.
In early March, SCPA will release a toolkit for S.C. newspapers including columns and cartoons. Here's what we did in 2017.
In addition to running SCPA and nationally created materials, we encourage you to craft your own Sunshine Week editorials, stories, columns, cartoons and graphics. Tell readers about the role you've played in fighting for their right to know.
“Newspapers large and small do an outstanding job fighting for open government in South Carolina,” said SCPA Executive Director Bill Rogers. “It’s an important battle that we need to keep fighting.”