Georgia

Author

Peter C. Canfield

Thomas M. Clyde

Eden D. Doniger

Dow Lohnes PLLC

Six Concourse Parkway

Suite 1800

Atlanta, GA 30328-6117

(770) 901-8800

(4). Public agenda items required.

The Act makes no distinction between regular and emergency meetings with regard to the agenda requirements. The Act requires every agency to make available to the public an agenda of all matters expected to come before the agency at the meeting. O.C.G.A. § 50-14-1(e)(1). The agenda must be available upon request and be posted at the meeting site as far in advance of the meeting as reasonably possible, but shall not be required to be available more than two weeks prior to the meeting. O.C.G.A. § 50-14-1(e)(1).

b. A state commission or ombudsman.

(This section is blank. See the point above.)

A. Autopsy reports.

The Act does not exempt autopsy reports. See Kilgore v. R. W. Page Corp., 259 Ga. 556, 385 S.E.2d 406 (1989) (Act applies to the office of coroner). However, O.C.G.A. § 45-16-27 specifically forbids the release of any autopsy photographs or images by hospitals without written permission of the next of kin. O.C.G.A. § 45-16-27(d).

A. Newsroom searches

The Privacy Protection Act (42 U.S.C. 2000aa) has been effective in preventing newsroom searches in Georgia. Although there is no similar provision under Georgia law (apart from the reporter's privilege), the authors are unaware of any newsroom search or seizures of camera equipment or film in Georgia in which the Privacy Protection Act had to be invoked.

A. Is there a right to participate in public meetings?

The Act does not address whether the public has a right to participate in public meetings, but the Act does require that an agency make available at least two days prior to a meeting an agenda of matters expected to come before it. O.C.G.A. § 50-14(e)(1).

C. Obtaining transcripts

Overview

Georgia

Apply for a transcript from the clerk in the court in which the proceeding was held.

F. Published and/or non-published material

Publication of information waives the privilege with respect to the published article or broadcast itself, but does not waive the privilege with respect to non-published material. See, e.g., In re Paul, 270 Ga. 680, 686 (Ga. 1999) ("Contrary to the State's contention, publication of part of the information gathered does not waive the privilege as to all of the information gathered on the same subject because it 'would chill the free flow of information to the public.'"). See also CSX Transportation v. Cox Broadcasting, Inc., No.

(1). Information required.

O.C.G.A. § 50-14-4(a) requires that the specific reasons for closure of portions of a meeting be entered in the official minutes. The minutes must also reflect the names of the members present and the names of those voting for closure. O.C.G.A. § 50-14-1(e). See, e.g., Moon v. Terrell Cty., 249 Ga. App. 567, 548 S.E.2d 680 (2001) (county commissioners violated Act when they failed to record the names of those present at the meeting, or to indicate how each commissioner voted). In addition, the minutes must contain a description of each motion or proposal made during the meeting.

d. Patterns for future access (declaratory judgment).

Declaratory judgment is a remedy available in court actions over the Open Records Act as long as the dispute is ripe.