FOI Reform in Georgia Looking Good….

A promising start to FOI reform in Georgia, my home state…

Making good on a campaign promise to strengthen Georgia’s Sunshine Laws, including the Open Records Act and Open Meetings Act, Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens, a Republican, has proposed a series of significant changes to both laws.

According to a review of the current version of the proposal, HB 397, which was marked up by the House Judiciary Committee on March 10, 2011, the proposal would make many significant changes, some of which would directly address some of the ongoing issues involving secrecy and lack of transparency with the City Council of Atlanta.

“I have had the pleasure of working with the Attorney General long before either of us was elected to our current positions,” said State Rep. Jay Powell (R-Camilla). “I look forward to joining him in working with local governments, agencies and the press to increase transparency and open government while safeguarding legitimate government interests.”

Olens expects the legislation to be to taken up during the special summer session on redistricting, for possible consideration by the legislature in 2012.

First, the proposed legislation would ban secret votes.

The City of Atlanta has been a top culprit in taking secret votes.  APN’s News Editor, the present writer, is currently engaged in litigation with the City for a secret vote taken by Council Members at the February 2010 Council Retreat at the Georgia Aquarium.

Two courts–Fulton County Superior Judge Christopher Brasher and Georgia Court of Appeals, with Chris McFadden authoring–have ruled that the way the law is currently written, based upon a plain language interpretation, allows for secret votes so long as they are not roll-call votes.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: