Gov. Deal says Ga.’s open records law hurts business potential
10:30 am, January 12th, 2012
Gov. Nathan Deal told publishers at a meeting this morning at the Capitol that Georgia’s open records law is undermining the state’s efforts to lure the “biggest new business opportunity since KIA.”
“We are having our biggest competitor file open record requests to find out what Georgia’s offer will be. They do not have in their state an equivalent law in place that allows us to find out what their offers are. That’s not a very good playing field,” Deal said.
Deal said the state Department of Economic Development is meeting with representatives of the Georgia Press Association to “see if there is a middle ground” in disclosure of economic development information.
He suggested it might be appropriate to place restraints on disclosure on all or part of such information until a deal is “sealed.” At that point, all information would be available for release, he said.
The governor emphasized that his administration is working with the Georgia Press Association to find a “reasonable compromise.”
“But when your competitors know what cards you’re holding and you don’t know what cards they’re holding, it’s a one-sided game.”
Attorney General Same Olens has proposed a broad re-write of the state’s open government laws, and his proposals are contained in HB 397, sponsored by Rep. Jay Powell. Deal said he didn’t know if Powell’s bill would address his concerns but added that “I know this is an area of interest for him.”