December 22, 2016 11:23 AM
Well, that ended quickly.
The Fulton County Attorney, Patrise Perkins-Hooker had decided Fulton County was getting too many email requests that she deemed frivolous, and decided she wanted a change in Georgia’s laws to limit the number of requests one person could request.
According to Chris Joyner of the AJC, Attorney General Chris Carr’s office pushed back. Hard.
“Limiting the rights of all citizens to make requests is not in keeping with the spirit and intent of the Open Records Act,” Assistant Attorney General Jennifer Colangelo wrote in an email to Fulton County.
Why? Because they aren’t the government’s records. Colangelo wrote that public records are “merely held in the custody of the public servants,” but they belong to the public.
Faced with such strong push back, Perkins-Hooker told me this week that she is abandoning her idea. She said she was merely work-shopping an idea on how to deal with repeated requests from abusive and possibly deranged citizens who bombard her office with requests.
At the end of the day, deranged citizens (like reporters, for instance) are still citizens. And public records are still that – public. There are procedures in place to recoup costs of open record requests. Arbitrarily limiting them because they are sometimes inconvenient are not in the best interest of open government. Luckily this trial balloon crashed not too long after liftoff.