HB 218—Another bill to
keep the public in the dark
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
firstname.lastname@example.org and ask him to vote against this bill. Also
a list of others on the committee are listed below.
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.
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.
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