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Congressional map heads for final vote

ATLANTA — The Senate redistricting committee on Tuesday approved proposed changes to Georgia’s congressional districts, and the maps are now headed to the Senate floor – bringing a speedy end to the Legislature’s main business of the summer special session.

The plan passed by a 10-3 vote Tuesday. The House has already approved the congressional map, and Gov. Nathan Deal has already signed new state legislative maps into law. All three maps must be approved by the U.S. Justice Department under the Voting Rights Act.

Democrats attempted to amend the congressional map Tuesday, saying their version preserved minority voting strength and would avoid a lawsuit.

The GOP proposal would require U.S. Rep. John Barrow of Savannah to move to run for re-election in his newly drawn 12th district.

Attorney general calls for tough records law

ATLANTA — Attorney General Sam Olens on Tuesday pressed state lawmakers to strengthen Georgia’s open records laws, arguing that transparency increases confidence in government.

Open government advocates said any changes to the law should ensure access to records is affordable and that there is strict enforcement for violations.

The bill being pushed by the Republican attorney general would boost fees for open records violations and clarify the state’s open meetings law to ensure more business is subject to public oversight. It also would require officials who close meetings to keep notes that a judge can review in case of a legal challenge.

– Associated Press

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