Advocates: Bill could shield too much from Georgia open records law

A bill that passed the state Senate and is barreling toward passage in the House would expand an exemption to the state’s public records law in the name of economic development, but open government advocates fear the bill could be used to justify secrecy in far more than recruiting companies.

The bill, SB 323, would allow any state agency to conceal documents about economic development projects involving business expansions of $25 million in investment or 50 jobs. After a deal is signed or negotiations terminated, the records would become public.

The law currently gives this exemption solely to the state Department of Economic Development. Critics of the bill say it is overly broad and should be narrowed to explicitly state that it only covers projects under the direction of that department. Continue…