Weapons Related Georgia CodeFound In LexisNexis by searching for "50-18-71" or in the TOC under:|
Title 50 - STATE GOVERNMENT
Chapter 18 - STATE PRINTING AND DOCUMENTS
Article 4 - INSPECTION OF PUBLIC RECORDS
The code sections are all Copyright © 2012 by The State of Georgia
O.C.G.A. § 50-18-71
Right of access; timing; fees; denial of requests; impact of electronic records
(a) All public records shall be open for personal inspection and copying,
except those which by order of a court of this state or by law are specifically
exempted from disclosure. Records shall be maintained by agencies to the extent
and in the manner required by Article 5 of this chapter.
(b) (1) (A) Agencies shall produce for inspection all records responsive to a
request within a reasonable amount of time not to exceed three business days of
receipt of a request; provided, however, that nothing in this chapter shall
require agencies to produce records in response to a request if such records did
not exist at the time of the request. In those instances where some, but not
all, records are available within three business days, an agency shall make
available within that period those records that can be located and produced. In
any instance where records are unavailable within three business days of receipt
of the request, and responsive records exist, the agency shall, within such time
period, provide the requester with a description of such records and a timeline
for when the records will be available for inspection or copying and provide the
responsive records or access thereto as soon as practicable.
(B) A request made pursuant to this article may
be made to the custodian of a public record orally or in writing. An agency may,
but shall not be obligated to, require that all written requests be made upon
the responder's choice of one of the following: the agency's director,
chairperson, or chief executive officer, however denominated; the senior
official at any satellite office of an agency; a clerk specifically designated
by an agency as the custodian of agency records; or a duly designated open
records officer of an agency; provided, however, that the absence or
unavailability of the designated agency officer or employee shall not be
permitted to delay the agency's response. At the time of inspection, any person
may make photographic copies or other electronic reproductions of the records
using suitable portable devices brought to the place of inspection.
Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, an agency may, in its
discretion, provide copies of a record in lieu of providing access to the record
when portions of the record contain confidential information that must be
(2) Any agency that designates one or more open records officers
upon whom requests for inspection or copying of records may be delivered shall
make such designation in writing and shall immediately provide notice to any
person upon request, orally or in writing, of those open records officers. If
the agency has elected to designate an open records officer, the agency shall so
notify the legal organ of the county in which the agency's principal offices
reside and, if the agency has a website, shall also prominently display such
designation on the agency's website. In the event an agency requires that
requests be made upon the individuals identified in subparagraph (B) of
paragraph (1) of this subsection, the three-day period for response to a written
request shall not begin to run until the request is made in writing upon such
individuals. An agency shall permit receipt of written requests by e-mail or
facsimile transmission in addition to any other methods of transmission approved
by the agency, provided such agency uses e-mail or facsimile in the normal
course of its business.
(3) The enforcement provisions of Code Sections 50-18-73 and
50-18-74 shall be available only to enforce compliance and punish noncompliance
when a written request is made consistent with this subsection and shall not be
available when such request is made orally.
(c) (1) An agency may impose a reasonable charge for the search, retrieval,
redaction, and production or copying costs for the production of records
pursuant to this article. An agency shall utilize the most economical means
reasonably calculated to identify and produce responsive, nonexcluded documents.
Where fees for certified copies or other copies or records are specifically
authorized or otherwise prescribed by law, such specific fee shall apply when
certified copies or other records to which a specific fee may apply are sought.
In all other instances, the charge for the search, retrieval, or redaction of
records shall not exceed the prorated hourly salary of the lowest paid full-time
employee who, in the reasonable discretion of the custodian of the records, has
the necessary skill and training to perform the request; provided, however, that
no charge shall be made for the first quarter hour.
(2) In addition to a charge for the search, retrieval, or redaction
of records, an agency may charge a fee for the copying of records or data, not
to exceed 10 cent(s) per page for letter or legal size documents or, in the case
of other documents, the actual cost of producing the copy. In the case of
electronic records, the agency may charge the actual cost of the media on which
the records or data are produced.
(3) Whenever any person has requested to inspect or copy a public
record and does not pay the cost for search, retrieval, redaction, or copying of
such records when such charges have been lawfully estimated and agreed to
pursuant to this article, and the agency has incurred the agreed-upon costs to
make the records available, regardless of whether the requester inspects or
accepts copies of the records, the agency shall be authorized to collect such
charges in any manner authorized by law for the collection of taxes, fees, or
assessments by such agency.
(d) In any instance in which an agency is required to or has decided to withhold
all or part of a requested record, the agency shall notify the requester of the
specific legal authority exempting the requested record or records from
disclosure by Code section, subsection, and paragraph within a reasonable amount
of time not to exceed three business days or in the event the search and
retrieval of records is delayed pursuant to this subsection or pursuant to
subparagraph (b)(1)(A) of this Code section, then no later than three business
days after the records have been retrieved. In any instance in which an agency
will seek costs in excess of $25.00 for responding to a request, the agency
shall notify the requester within a reasonable amount of time not to exceed
three business days and inform the requester of the estimate of the costs, and
the agency may defer search and retrieval of the records until the requester
agrees to pay the estimated costs unless the requester has stated in his or her
request a willingness to pay an amount that exceeds the search and retrieval
costs. In any instance in which the estimated costs for production of the
records exceeds $500.00, an agency may insist on prepayment of the costs prior
to beginning search, retrieval, review, or production of the records. Whenever
any person who has requested to inspect or copy a public record has not paid the
cost for search, retrieval, redaction, or copying of such records when such
charges have been lawfully incurred, an agency may require prepayment for
compliance with all future requests for production of records from that person
until the costs for the prior production of records have been paid or the
dispute regarding payment resolved.
(e) Requests by civil litigants for records that are sought as part of or for
use in any ongoing civil or administrative litigation against an agency shall be
made in writing and copied to counsel of record for that agency
contemporaneously with their submission to that agency. The agency shall
provide, at no cost, duplicate sets of all records produced in response to the
request to counsel of record for that agency unless the counsel of record for
that agency elects not to receive the records.
(f) As provided in this subsection, an agency's use of electronic record-keeping
systems must not erode the public's right of access to records under this
article. Agencies shall produce electronic copies of or, if the requester
prefers, printouts of electronic records or data from data base fields that the
agency maintains using the computer programs that the agency has in its
possession. An agency shall not refuse to produce such electronic records, data,
or data fields on the grounds that exporting data or redaction of exempted
information will require inputting range, search, filter, report parameters, or
similar commands or instructions into an agency's computer system so long as
such commands or instructions can be executed using existing computer programs
that the agency uses in the ordinary course of business to access, support, or
otherwise manage the records or data. A requester may request that electronic
records, data, or data fields be produced in the format in which such data or
electronic records are kept by the agency, or in a standard export format such
as a flat file electronic American Standard Code for Information Interchange
(ASCII) format, if the agency's existing computer programs support such an
export format. In such instance, the data or electronic records shall be
downloaded in such format onto suitable electronic media by the agency.
(g) Requests to inspect or copy electronic messages, whether in the form of
e-mail, text message, or other format, should contain information about the
messages that is reasonably calculated to allow the recipient of the request to
locate the messages sought, including, if known, the name, title, or office of
the specific person or persons whose electronic messages are sought and, to the
extent possible, the specific data bases to be searched for such messages.
(h) In lieu of providing separate printouts or copies of records or data, an
agency may provide access to records through a website accessible by the public.
However, if an agency receives a request for data fields, an agency shall not
refuse to provide the responsive data on the grounds that the data is available
in whole or in its constituent parts through a website if the requester seeks
the data in the electronic format in which it is kept. Additionally, if an
agency contracts with a private vendor to collect or maintain public records,
the agency shall ensure that the arrangement does not limit public access to
those records and that the vendor does not impede public record access and
method of delivery as established by the agency or as otherwise provided for in
this Code section.
(i) Any computerized index of county real estate deed records shall be printed
for purposes of public inspection no less than every 30 days, and any correction
made on such index shall be made a part of the printout and shall reflect the
time and date that such index was corrected.
(j) No public officer or agency shall be required to prepare new reports,
summaries, or compilations not in existence at the time of the request.
HISTORY: Ga. L. 1959, p. 88, § 2; Ga. L. 1982, p. 1789, § 1; Ga. L. 1988, p. 243, § 2; Ga. L. 1992, p. 1061, § 6; Ga. L. 1996, p. 313, § 1; Ga. L. 2012, p. 218, § 2/HB 397; Ga. L. 2013, p. 141, § 50/HB 79.