Georgia

d. Instant messaging.

No statute or reported case specifically addresses meetings held via instant messaging. However, the Georgia Supreme Court has consistently held that the Act "must be broadly construed to effect its purpose of protecting the public and individuals for closed-door meetings." See, e.g., Kilgore v. R.W. Page Corp., 261 Ga. 410, 405 S.E.2d 655 (1991). Additionally, the Georgia Court of Appeals has indicated that a "meeting" may be conducted "by written, telephonic, electronic, wireless, or other virtual means. Claxton Enter. v. Evans Cty.

a. Bodies receiving public funds or benefits.

Any entity, business or organization that serves a public function, including any non-profit entity, is subject to the Act's requirements. See, e.g., Northwest Ga. Health Sys. v. Times-Journal, 218 Ga. App. 336, 340, 461 S.E.2d 297 (1995) (nonprofit entities operating "as vehicles for public agencies" are subject to the Act regardless of the amount of funding they receive from the public); see also Hackworth v. Board of Ed., 214 Ga. App.

A. In general

Overview

Georgia

In the state courts of Georgia, “the public and the press have traditionally enjoyed a right of access to court records.” Atlanta Journal v. Long, 258 Ga. 410, 411 (1988). In Long the court propounded the justification for public access to court records: “Public access protects litigants and citizens because justice faces its gravest threat when courts dispense it secretly.” Id. The Supreme Court of Georgia has specifically emphasized that access to court records is an essential component of meaningful public access to the courts.

5. Are subsequent or concurrent measures (formal or informal) available?

No subsequent or concurrent measure, either formal or informal, are mentioned in the Georgia Code.

13. Emergency medical services records.

With the exception of patient medical records, ambulance service records are subject to the Act’s disclosure requirements.  See Griffin-Spalding County Hospital Authority v. Radio Station WKEU, 240 Ga. 444, 241 S.E.2d 196 (1978).

2. Material unavailable from other sources

According to the statutory privilege, the subpoenaing party must demonstrate the information sought "cannot be reasonably obtained by alternative means." This has been interpreted to require a showing that the information is unavailable from other sources. See, e.g., In re Paul, 270 Ga. 680, 687 (Ga. 1999) ("[T]he state has failed to show that it could not reasonably obtain much of the information it seeks by alternative means.").

a. Definition.

Meetings that are not held at the regularly posted time and place require more rigorous notice procedures. O.C.G.A. § 50-14-1(d).

1. Attorney General's role.

The Act provides that "the Attorney General shall have authority to bring . . . actions, either civil or criminal, in his or her discretion as may be appropriate to enforce compliance with this article." O.C.G.A. § 50-17-73(b).

4. Requirements or prohibitions regarding advance payment.

Advance payment is not required under the Act. O.C.G.A. § 50-18-71. Once documents are requested, charges for all costs incurred by the governmental organization or agency can be collected from the citizen or organization in the same manner as taxes due. O.C.G.A. § 50-18-71(g). In order to collect, however, the agency must have first notified the party making the request of the estimated cost of the copying, search, retrieval, and other authorized fees. O.C.G.A. 50-18-71.2.

F. Interviewing petit jurors and grand jurors

Overview

Georgia

Members of a grand jury in Georgia take a statutorily-prescribed oath to keep deliberations of the grand jury secret (O.C.G.A.