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Public Policy Alert: Freedom of Information Act Ruling

A message from Bob Coble

March 7, 2016


A recent ruling regarding South Carolina’s Freedom of Information Act is one to note. It came on February 22 in vs. Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce.

Circuit court judge Michael Nettles in Beaufort, granted summary judgment holding that the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce is a "public body" and therefore subject to FOIA.

The Chamber is a 501(c)(6) non-profit corporation and receives public money from local governments. Judge Nettles used a five part test from a prior Supreme Court case to determine whether the Chamber was subject to the FOIA.

Read the complete order from Judge Nettles.

According to local media reports, the Chamber's legal team plans to appeal directly to the South Carolina Supreme Court. This is a case we will be monitoring, so updates will be provided as necessary.

Bob Coble is chair of Nexsen Pruet's Public Policy and Governmental Affairs Group for South Carolina.  He was Mayor of Columbia for 20 years before turning full-time to his public policy practice.  Coble regularly advises corporate leaders and professionals on the inner-working of South Carolina’s business and political landscape.