#Pumpkingate played out again in a Dawson County courtroom today. But with no immediate resolution, Nydia Tisdale still is not #free.
Feb. 5, 2013 — How soon they forget. Georgia tried once before to charge hundreds of dollars for citizens to lobby state legislators, and a federal judge ruled it unconstitutional. In 1995, U.S. District Judge Marvin Shoob held that a $200 fee for union members violated their rights to free speech and equal protection under the law.
Hearings will start this month on an overhaul of Georgia’s sunshine law that would open more meetings to the public and pull hidden public records out of private databases. Attorney General Sam Olens predicts House Bill 397 can pass the state Legislature next year, though he admitted the law doesn’t go as far as he would like.
Gov. Nathan Deal misinterpreted a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision this week when he vetoed a bill that would have banned anonymous campaign ads. So says Common Cause, the good-government advocacy group. Deal’s office said he wanted to err on the side of free speech, particularly in light of the bill’s criminal penalty.