Open Meetings Law: How Business Owners Can Benefit

  1. The Open Meetings Law, also known as Sunshine Law, is a law that allows individuals in the public to have access to government records and meetings held by groups and organizations such as city councils, county commissions and regional development authorities.


    In the state of Georgia, “the Georgia Open Records Act is a series of laws guaranteeing the public access to public records of government bodies. Public records are those documents generated by individuals or groups in public office in the course of public service.”    
  2. Kent Johnson is a recent graduate of Georgia State University College of Law and plans to open his own practice in the summer of 2014. Currently, Johnson is the open records custodian for Atlanta Public Schools. He explains the purpose of Open Meetings Law and the Open Records Act. “The Open Meetings Law and the Sunshine Law, they are extensions of the Open Records Act,” explains Johnson. “The purpose of the Open Records Act and the purpose of Open Meetings Act is to ensure that public agencies are being transparent, because of course, the public dollars fund these entities, so these meetings have to be open to the public.”

     

    Johnson explains the importance of business owners and potential business owners attending such meetings in their communities. “A lot of times the initiatives are going to be discussed there, and it could be potential business opportunities there,” said Johnson. “If you're in a particular field and you're looking for business, it would be beneficial to attend those meetings because you have an idea of what’s going on in the district and a pulse on what services they may need that you could provide.”
  3. Johnson further discusses the benefits of attending agency meetings and what information business owners can obtain in these meetings. Individuals can get “an idea of upcoming tax breaks or increases that you may have to deal with,” says Johnson. “It’s really good to just be abreast on what’s going on in the community in which your business serves, because it can benefit you in more ways than one.”
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