Could H.B. 218 Make a Return?

It is rumored that a controversial government-secrecy bill that died two years ago may reappear when the Georgia General Assembly convenes in January.  The legislation, bill number 218 in the House, failed to come to a vote in the Senate in 2004.  But it did have success in the House, passing despite heated bipartisan protest.

The future of a proposal that would shroud certain government discussions has become something of a secret itself.

Lawmakers say they aren’t sure that the measure to cloak industrial-recruitment negotiations will return when the General Assembly opens its next session in January. House Speaker Glenn Richardson, R-Hiram, suggested as much earlier this year on the campaign trail.

“It depends on who you talk to,” said House Minority Leader DuBose Porter, D-Dublin. His party teamed up with skittish Republicans to kill the measure two years ago.

Potential sponsors are backing off the idea, and Eric Johnson of Savannah, Republican leader of the Senate, has labeled the measure all but dead.

So what’s the big deal?

Supporters say the measure is needed to help the state recruit employers. Georgia is at a disadvantage, they say, because the current law’s requirement that government documents be available to the public means officials from neighboring states can request a copy of the incentives Georgia is offering a company, then up the ante.

Opponents argue that there is little evidence that the state’s open-records laws have caused Georgia to lose a single development prospect.

6 comments

  1. David says:

    There is absolutely NOTHING that goes on under our Gold Dome that needs to be secret, this ain’t DC. Hope the bill dies swiftly.

  2. liberty21 says:

    I knew House Speaker Glenn Richardson, R-Hiram was going to try resurrect HB218. It shows how desperately wants secrecy in the Georgia state legislature. Secret under the table deals with major corporations won’t improve the economic situation in Georgia it will only make it worse. I encourage bi-partisan opposition to this bill. Georgia needs open government.

  3. UGAchris says:

    You know, partisans on both sides of the aisle will use any kind of exemption like this for their own purposes. Maybe Republicans in Georgia should look at the national Republicans and see the kind of stupid moves that got them kicked out of the majority.

  4. Richardson’s official position, if I recall, was I should be able to pass anything I want and if the voters don’t like it they can kick me out next time.

    Call me crazy, but I think the kind of citizen input during the legislative session that killed SB 5 and in Tennessee the income tax has a rightful place in Georgia. Richardson seems intent on driving his fellow Republicans off the cliff, I wonder when they will listen to the voters: while the bill is being debated or not until election day?

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