Georgia Open Meetings Act
The Georgia Open Meetings Act defines meetings as any gathering of a quorum of members of a public body where business will be discussed or action will be taken. Exceptions to this would be on-site inspections of facilities and meetings with other agencies outside of the original agencies jurisdiction, where no action is taken.
Violations of the Georgia Open Meetings Act are considered misdemeanors and are punishable by up to a $500 fine. Any person, firm, corporation, or other entity may file a suit against a public body or its members if they feel the act has been violated, as long as it is within 90 days of the meeting in question.
Open Meetings Act O.C.G.A. §50-14-1 et seq.
Closed: Certain personnel matters, attorney consultations and real estate transactions.
Georgia Open Records Act
The Georgia Open Records Act is a series of laws guaranteeing the public access to public records of government bodies. Public records are those documents generated by individuals or groups in public office in the course of public service. Government agencies that are included in the act are:
- Every state department, agency, board, bureau, commission and authority.
- Every county, municipal corporation, school district, or other political subdivision of the state.
- Every department, agency, board, bureau, commission, authority, or similar body of each such county, municipal corporation, or other political subdivision of the state.
- Every city, county, regional or other authority established pursuant to law.
- With some exceptions, “any nonprofit organization that receives more than one third of its funds in the form of a direct allocation of tax funds from the governing authority of an agency.”
Records in the Georgia Open Records Act that are exempt are records related to the provision of staff services to individual members of the General Assembly by the Legislative and Congressional Reapportionment Office, the Senate Research Office, or the House Research Office, or GIS Data.
Any citizen of the state can request public records and requesters do not have to state a purpose. Once they have been obtained, there is no restriction on how records can be used, and agencies have three days to supply a response.
Open Records Act O.C.G.A. §50-18-70 et seq.
Exempt: Investigations; certain real estate documents; attorney-client privilege documents; and names of handgun carriers. Electronic records open.
Visit, Georgia Sample FOIA Request, to view a sample FOIA request for the state.