A-G’s office doesn’t support change in open records act

[private]The attorney general’s office is not getting behind a request to change the state’s open records act to limit the number of requests people can make for public records.

That point was made clear in a letter Tuesday to Patrise Perkins-Hooker, the attorney for the Fulton County Commission.

“The proposal is not an effort that our office could, or does, support,” said Assistant Attorney General Jennifer Colangelo. “Limiting the rights of all citizens to make requests is not in keeping with the spirit and intent of the Open Records Act.”

“While our office appreciates your stated concern that the Act should not be abused, your submitted proposal appears to be overbroad and unduly burdens the rights of the public in inspecting the records which are, at heart, their own records merely held in the custody of public servants entrusted by the public to maintain the public’s own records,” Colangelo wrote.

Perkins-Hooker had earlier discussed with law department attorneys “abusive” requests for public records that she said were intended to waste taxpayers’ time and money.  She proposed that the Open Records Act be amended to limit the number of open records requests from people who are not members of the media.

Even though the attorney general’s office does not support the Perkins-Hooker request, the ultimate decision on changing the open records law would be up to the General Assembly — which is often very receptive to ideas like that.

Last session, lawmakers passed a bill requested by University of Georgia football coach Kirby Smart that allows public colleges to wait for 90 days before responding to open records requests.

Smart wanted the change so that he could keep information about his recruiting efforts hidden from the public. Legislators complied with the request and Gov. Nathan Deal signed the bill into law.

© 2016 by The Georgia Report



Tags: attorney general , open records act