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The new and improved Red Book is now available.

The Georgia First Amendment Foundation’s Sunshine Laws: A Guide to Open Government in Georgia, commonly just called The Red Book, has been revised, updated and reissued.

It should be required reading for every elected and appointed public official in the state, and every household in Georgia should have a copy.

In the Forward of the latest edition of the Red Book, GFAF President Richard T. Griffiths wrote, “Fundamental to a healthy democracy is the ability of the public to make good decisions based on good information. That means government must be transparent, even if it is uncomfortable for the public officials in whom we have placed our trust. Over the years, Georgia’s public officials have understood the need for transparency. The result is the collection of laws detailed in this sixth edition of the Red Book, Sunshine Laws: A Guide to Open Government in Georgia. This book arms you with the tools to exercise your right to see public records and attend meetings where decision are made.”

The Red Book is a massive undertaking.

Contributors, researchers, writers and editors included Kathy Brister, Peter Canfield, Tom Clyde, Jennifer Colangelo, Silvia Eaddy, Richard T. Griffiths, Ken Foskett, John McGosh, Shawn McIntosh, Jon Peters, Ashley Soriano, Ashlyn Webb and me.

The William S. Morris Chair in News Strategy and Management at the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, the National Freedom of Information Coalition and the Georgia Press Association help fund the publication of the new edition.

The statutory section of the book is reprinted or quoted verbatim from the Official Code of Georgia Annotated of the State of Georgia and is reprinted with permission.

In fact, one of the great things about the Red Book is that it contains the actual text of the law, verbatim, so you can just read it for yourself without having to rely on someone else to tell you what it means.

The book also contains explanations of those laws, for those who want them, and how they apply to the public. For example, the book provides information on how the government should provide access and penalties for government’s non-compliance to open meetings laws and the Open Records Act.

The latest edition of the Red Book is now available from representatives of the Georgia First Amendment Foundation, at GFAF open government training events or can be requested at the GFAF website at gfaf.org. Electronic versions of the new Red Book will also soon be available.

It’s a must read.

CNHI Deputy National Editor Jim Zachary is CNHI’s regional editor for its Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama and Texas newspapers and editor of the Valdosta Daily Times. He is vice president of the Georgia First Amendment Foundation.

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