Viewpoint: Sunshine laws

Georgia's new Attorney General Sam Olens has several ideas in his 2011 legislative package. The state's top lawyer he's pushing to strengthen the state's sunshine laws.

Olens also wants to revise the state Open Records Act and restructure the Open Meetings Act.

We say these are worthy targets. They are aimed at keeping governments honest, and their actions transparent, and that's the way it should be.

The people who do the people's business ought to want to make sure that their discussions and votes are in the public domain for all the taxpayers to see. Unless you can attend the meetings, and who can do that all the time- the news media is the eyes and ears of the public in these matters.

Therefore, government agencies need to maintain a spirit of cooperation with news media. Most do, but sometimes, some of them don't put much faith in the public's right to know.

The new A. G. wants to raise fines for violating the open records act from $100 to a thousand dollars.

We hope that all government agencies pay attention to this issue. They are entrusted with the public's trust.