Essay on The Constitution And Statutes Of State Of Georgia
The Negative Bound of FOIA
The Constitution and statutes of State of Georgia highlight a core belief that openness is the best mode of governance, both to ensure accountability and inspire trust. In this light, Georgia’s Sunshine Laws grant sweeping access to the meetings and documents of the state government. The law’s breadth and depth are some of the most comprehensive nationally, reflecting the ideals of the those who penned the constitution. However, their broadness highlights questions of privacy and independence. According to Georgia case law, an organization acting as a contractor for the government can itself be treated as a public agency under the state’s FOIA regulations. As I will argue, this interpretation of the state’s FOIA law discourages innovation, particularly when applied to the state’s education system.
Two Georgia cases set the precedent that all individuals and organizations executing a government function are public agencies, and thus subject to FOIA laws. Georgia’s definition of agencies is uniquely broad , reflecting the law’s intent to preserve and promote the principles of openness written into the state Constitution. In Red & Black Publishing vs. Board of Regents (1993), a split Court declared it constitutional for Red & Black Publishing to access University of Georgia student court records because the student court is a function of the Board of Regents and thus subject to FOIA. While the Court recognized that this might…