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10 September 2010

Honest Question: Why Didn't Barnes Co-Sponsor An Open Records Bill In 1996?

Thursday, former Governor Roy Barnes rolled out his ethics reform package. Included in the Barnes' plan was a proposal to make the state legislature subject to the open records act.

For years, the General Assembly has been exempt from the provisions of O.C.G.A. 50-18-70; and Barnes is right. Our legislature should be open, honest and transparent. So I have to ask:

Why didn't Roy Barnes co-sponsor a bill to end the General Assembly's open records exemption when it was introduced in 1996?

Fourteen years ago, state Representative Mitchell Kaye (R - East Cobb) introduced House Bill 1105; a bill providing that the General Assembly is subject to the open records Act. H.B. 1105 had only one sponsor and never made it out of committee.

Roy Barnes, at the time, was a state Representative. And the Georgia General Assembly was controlled by Democrats.

Why didn't H.B. 1105 move? Why was a Republican the only sponsor of the bill? And once again, why didn't Roy Barnes co-sponsor H.B. 1105 when Mitchell Kaye introduced it?