COLUMBIA - South Carolina's open government took another two hits Wednesday.
The S.C. State Ethics Commission's chairman on Wednesday has temporarily restricted the panel's communications with reporters. The commission, appointed by Gov. Nikki Haley, oversees campaign finances and can levy penalties for a range of ethics matters for the governor and other state and local officials.
Media Attorney Jay Bender called the move unlawful.
The South Carolina Supreme Court also ruled Wednesday that autopsy reports are not public records, dealing another blow to traditional practices under the state's Freedom of Information law.
The ruling leaves little guidance on what, if anything, coroners release to the public about suspicious deaths in their counties.
The two rulings come just weeks after the Supreme Court also ruled public bodies can change their meeting agendas without notice.
Meanwhile, Charleston officials refused to release city emails about Denzel Curnell's death or information about the police officer who saw him die because the documents might harm the agency, they claimed in letters that The Post and Courier received last week.
The Charleston Police Department denied three requests for the public records under the S.C. Freedom of Information Act.
In other news:
Rumors swirl of undocumented immigrants arriving in South Carolina (The Post and Courier)
Data-mining firm to probe Charleston County home ownership, looking for improper tax breaks (The Post and Courier)
Haley, DSS the target of Democratic Governors Association advertisement (The Post and Courier)
Sheheen: SC must fight beach bacterial pollution (The State)
$11M Clemson grant a 'game changer' for medical research (The Greenville News)
Ku Klux Klan hands out candy in Oconee County (The Associated Press)