Originally created 03/14/97

Ga. secrecy bill, RIP



Sometimes what lawmakers don't do is just as important as what they do. That is certainly true with an ill-conceived measure to circumvent Georgia's Open Records Act. It has wisely been turned back by the state Senate.

The measure by Sen. Paul Broun, D-Athens, would have hidden from public view all records and documents pertaining to state or local government efforts to lure new industry into the state.

Broun believed this would make it easier to negotiate. That it would, but it would also make it easier to negotiate against the public interest.

To be sure, everyone wants to expand the economy, but allowing government officials to strike secret deals with private moneyed interests isn't the way to go about it. To evaluate the worth of an incentive package, the public needs to know what's in it.

As Georgia Press Association counsel David Hudson points out, "Public access and oversight are the strongest antidote to bad judgment and even malfeasance."

Usually lawmakers take pride in legislation they pass. Today they can take pride in not passing Broun's legislation.



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