A Georgia city is challenging the state's new sunshine laws in response to an open meetings lawsuit state Attorney General Sam Olens filed against its mayor. The Fulton County Daily Report reports that Olens' lawsuit is the first under Georgia's new Open Meetings and Open Records acts. The lawsuit states that Cumming Mayor Ford Gravitt and police barred Nydia Tisdale from videotaping an April 17 city council meeting.
Georgia's attorney general has filed a lawsuit against a suburban Atlanta city and its mayor for alleged violations of the state's open meetings law. The law permits visual and sound recording during open meetings, but the suit claims Cumming’s mayor ordered a woman to stop taping a city council meeting in April.
State lawmakers passed a bill Tuesday that would introduce the first major changes to the state’s open meetings and records act in a decade. It would stiffen penalties for agencies that withhold open records and boards that hold meetings in secret.
Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens wants a revamped state Sunshine law that would stiffen penalties and increase enforcement. He spoke Thursday at the Atlanta Press Club about changes he has proposed. But he has no plans to suggest the legislators and the Governor be subject to the law.
Savannah City Council got a lesson in open government from Georgia's top prosecutor. State Attorney General Sam Olens says, he doesn't want to take elected officials to court, but violations of Georgia's sunshine laws are occurring far too frequently. He was in Savannah because the council violated the law three times.
A member of Savannah City Council says, she didn't receive special treatment when fellow council members paid her $50,000 for flood damage to her home. Many Savannah residents have filed claims against the city in recent years -- saying when it rains, the city's drains don't work and their homes get flooded. But many of council member Mary Osborne's claims fell outside a legal time limit.
The state Attorney General's office says, members of Savannah City Council broke the law three times when they met to discuss hiring a new city manager. The office says, the violations occurred when the council met behind closed doors. In one meeting, council members broke up into teams to interview potential candidates for the city manager position.