It was not on his legislative agenda, but Gov. Nathan Deal defended the measure he signed into law this month that gives the University of Georgia and other public college athletic associations far more time to respond to open records requests.
Our AJC colleague Dan Chapman asked him Wednesday why he signed Senate Bill 323, which allows the athletic departments at UGA, Georgia Tech and other state colleges to wait 90 days before responding to Open Records Act requests. Athletic associations, like all state agencies, previously had three days to acknowledge the requests.
“The members of the General Assembly felt that that was necessary and I’m sure Greg and you have already tried to figure out how long it takes for the University of Alabama to respond to similar inquiries already being made of the University of Georgia as well,” he told Chapman. “We’ll see how long it takes you to get a response from them.”
The measure was adopted despite an uproar from First Amendment advocates who called it an unprecedented affront to First Amendment rights. Deal’s office has said it “levels the playing field” with other Southern states.
In a survey of other states in the Southeastern Conference, our AJC colleague Seth Emerson found that most were required to respond to records requests within three to 10 days. South Carolina gives officials 15 days to respond, while Mississippi requires seven days to acknowledge a request and 14 to fulfill it. Both Alabama and Florida require a more open-ended “reasonable” timeframe for a response.
We haven’t tested Alabama’s rules yet, but Emerson has. He said the state responded to one of his requests within two business days.
We told you over the weekend about the overwhelming vote by conservative activists in Georgia’s Third District who voted to “censure” Gov. Nathan Deal after his veto of the controversial “religious liberty” legislation. Now we got hold of the exact language of that censure.
It’s a doozy, and we offer you a snippet below:
WHEREAS Governor Deal has campaigned as a conservative and made promises during his campaigns only to quickly flip-flop on those promises; and
WHEREAS Governor has amassed a long and terrible record of governing in association with liberal Democrats and crony capitalists, on issues ranging from gun rights, religious liberty, T-SPLOST, tax increases, and Common Core; and
WHEREAS Governor Deal has abandoned our values and has been eerily silent against Liberals, yet publicly reprimands Conservatives in his own Party; and
WHEREAS this record has been disastrous and harmful to Georgians;
State Rep. Tom Taylor spoke for the first time since he was arrested on driving under the influence charges after a Clayton police officer found his blood-alcohol content was nearly three times the legal limit.
The Dunwoody Republican told WSB he plans to seek counsel for his drinking problem.
“I want to come right out and say this is a terrible decision on my part. I’m not trying to dodge it. I own it,” Taylor said, adding that he won’t fight charges.
“This is a mistake I made, I admit it. I’m not going to hire an attorney and besmirch or try to pick apart a police officer’s procedure when he’s just doing his job.”
Here’s a fun factoid: David Perdue has spent 49 days presiding over the floor of the U.S. Senate since first being sworn into office.
The Capitol Hill publication Roll Call tracked the amount of time each senator has spent following the custom, which dates back to the 1970s. Perdue rounds out the top 10 for the current Congress, unsurprising since the duty, which many view as a chore, is typically reserved for freshman members of the party in power.