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HB 218—Another bill to keep the public in the dark

Thankfully Senate Bill 5 has died, but the Republicans continue on their quest to upset their constituents with secrecy bills.  We urge you to contact Johnny Grant at sengrant@alltel.net and ask him to vote against this bill.  Also a list of others on the committee are listed below.

 

H.B. 218 Secret Public Records, introduced by Representative Stephens of District 164, would make some public records less public and some currently open meetings could become secret.

 

H.B. 218 allows state planners and almost a thousand local economic development agencies to keep secret their dealings with businesses they want to come to Georgia.  On February 9th, it passed the House 118 to 52 (we have asked Jim Cole how he voted on this issue, but have yet to hear from him) although current Georgia law already keeps the public from learning business trade secrets and the location of property the government might want to buy.

 

Under H.B. 218 the public wouldn’t know what businesses the state is wooing, tax breaks they might get, re-zoning required, what land would be affected, where it’s located or how it would affect utilities, environment, traffic, roads and schools.  Citizens would be kept out of the loop until the deals are done and taxpayers could be stuck with the results whether or not the business improved the economy.  One representative was particularly concerned about the impact of H.B. 218 on rural Georgia, including 57 counties without zoning regulations to protect them. 

ACTION‑Oppose.  Contact Senate Economic Development Senators Mullis, Chair, 404- 656-0057; Rogers, V-Ch., 463-1378; Zamarippa, Sec., 463-8054; Brown, 656-5035; Carter, 463 1363; Chance, 656-0071; Hooks, 656-0065; Nancy Schaefer, 463-1367; Stephens, 656-0048; Curt Thompson, 463-1318; and Whitehead, 656-5114.
 

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