The General Administrative Code of Georgia was adopted in 1999.(2) Chapter 3 of the Code is entitled "Freedom of Information." It sets a general presumption that information kept, received or held by a public agency should be open. All public information should be entered into a public register in two days.
The law gives anyone the right to submit a written request for public information regardless of the form that information takes and without having to state the reasons for the request. The agency must respond immediately and can only delay if the information is in another locality, is of a significant volume or is at another agency. Fees can only be applied for copying costs. The law also sets rules on the access and use of personal information.
There are exemptions for information that is protected by another law or that which is considered a state, commercial, professional or personal secret. Names of some public servants participating in a decision by an official can be withheld under executive privilege but the papers can be released. The 2001 amendment prohibits the withholding of the names of political officials.
Information relating to the environment and hazards to health, structures and objectives of agencies, election results, results of audits and inspections, registers of information and any other information that is not state, commercial, or personal secrets cannot be classified. All public information created before 1990 is open. Agencies are also required to issue reports each year on the requests and their responses under the Act.
Those whose requests have been denied can appeal internally or can ask a court to nullify an agency decision. The court can review classified information to see if it has been classified properly. The Supreme Court ruled in June 2003 that legal fees can be obtained as damages when a requester wins a case.