Update: Open records bill moved forward

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Contractors building the Atlanta Braves’ new Cobb County stadium would be protected from public disclosure of payroll and personnel records under a bill endorsed today by a state House subcommittee.

The bill has been mentioned in connection with the Braves because two of its co-sponsors hail from Cobb, but the measure would have much broader implications. An amended version passed this morning would exempt records of contractors “performing services or a construction project of any kind” for a Georgia city or county.

The Georgia Chamber of Commerce, the National Federation of Independent Business and the Associated General Contractors of Georgia all urged passage today before a House Judiciary subcommittee.

Representative John Carson, the bill’s sponsor, said it’s intended to guard against identity theft and to keep private contractors’ business practices confidential.

Carson’s bill goes next to the full House Judiciary Committee, which has not yet scheduled a hearing on it.
Government watchdogs, though, contend Georgians need to know how private employees are performing public services.

“What happens to that employee who is habitually drunk at work?” Jim Collins, a lobbyist for the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association, asked the subcommittee. “There is a legitimate need to know what’s going on with that person.”

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