A. The term "public records" as used in this regulation is defined in the Freedom of Information Act. It shall include all rules, regulations, and written statements of policy and procedure formulated, adopted or used by the Department of Mental Health and the minutes of the meetings of the Mental Health Commission, but shall not include any matter or record accorded confidential treatment pursuant to state or federal law or regulation.
B. All requests for public records, other than those normally made within the ordinary course of business to other persons or offices of the Department of Mental Health, shall be handled pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act and shall be made in writing to the Office of Communications, South Carolina Department of Mental Health, Columbia, South Carolina. Such request shall identify the record or describe the character of information sought. Such request shall be in ink or typewritten and must be signed in ink by the requesting party or his duly authorized agent or attorney.
C. All public records will be made available for inspection at the Department of Mental Health in Columbia, South Carolina, during established office hours.
D. Public records printed or reproduced by the Department of Mental Health shall be given to any person upon proper request, and the Department may require payment of the cost thereof. The first fifteen copies will be provided at no charge; beginning with the sixteenth copy, there will be a fee of twenty cents per page. If a request is made for records which are not readily available, the Department may determine a reasonable hourly rate for the expense of searching for and securing such records. The Department may also require a reasonable deposit for such anticipated expense from the person making the request prior to searching for or making copies of the records.
E. Requests for public records, for permission to inspect public records, or for copies of public records will be handled with due regard for the dispatch of other public duties.