Every year or so, someone introduces legislation to amend FOIA to increase the penalties on public bodies for violations. This session is no exception. Last week, SB 1216 was introduced to modify the FOIA statute as follows:
1. To require a public body that denies a record under one of the FOIA exemptions to prove that release of the record would harm an interest protected by the asserted exemption. This is in addition to the current requirement that a public body prove by clear and convincing evidence that the record is exempt.
2.  To mandate that a court impose a civil penalty against a public body for any violation of FOIA (not just for willful and intentional violations as provided in the current statute). 
We’ll keep our readers posted on this bill as it moves forward.