The Moultrie Observer by Jim Zachary
June 4, 2019
Just because a record held by local government is considered exempt from the state’s Open Records Act does not mean that record cannot be released.
To say it another way, even if the document is exempted from the Open Records Act, public officials can still release it.
Last year, the state Supreme Court clearly said local government officials can release public records exempted from the Open Records Act, if they so choose.
Georgia public records laws allow for certain documents to be withheld but do not require it.
The state’s Open Records Act places no restrictions on elected and appointed officials who choose to be completely open and transparent.
Sometimes we hear records custodians say they are legally prohibited and will be fined if they release a record that can be exempted from public release.
The key to understanding this is the word “can.” A record exempt from the act can be sealed from the public but it doesn’t have to be.