Originally created 05/14/98

Senate changes records bill



COLUMBIA -- South Carolina House leaders are upset with Senate changes in a bill to give the public more access to government records.

The Senate included a provision by Sen. Glenn McConnell, R-Charleston, to allow for the suspension, without pay, of any state employee who fails to provide information to legislators.

"It has the potential to be a serious problem," said Rep. James Klauber, R-Greenwood, one of three House members named Tuesday to work out differences between the House and Senate versions.

Mr. Klauber said the amendment might allow legislators to seek information from one another.

The Legislature should deal with Mr. McConnell's concerns separately, House Speaker David Wilkins, R-Greenville, said.

"I don't think they ought to jeopardize this bill by putting that amendment on top of it," Mr. Wilkins said.

The bill would make more records available and establish clearer standards for closed-door meetings by government entities. It also would make more records related to industrial recruitment available once the recruiting effort was completed.

Supporters of the original bill worry it might be killed.

"This is really a monkey wrench," said Bill Rogers, executive director of the South Carolina Press Association.