This summary is provided as a broad outline of current Georgia records keeping
laws. It is intended as a reference tool to assist in understanding the many
laws regarding public record keeping and not as a definitive legal resource.
Questions regarding any of summaries provided should be directed to your legal
O.C.G.A. 45-13-40: establishes the Department of Archives and History
as part of the Secretary of State’s office.
Archives, responsibilities and duties
O.C.G.A. 45-13-41: ensures the retention and preservation of the
records of any state or local government agency.
O.C.G.A. 50-18-93: states that
the Department of Archives and History shall establish and administer a records
management program; develop and issue procedures, rules and regulations
establishing standards for a records management program; assist state agencies
with their records management programs; and operate a records center or
O.C.G.A. 50-18-99(f): states
that the Department of Archives and History shall provide local governments
with a common record retention schedules and advise which historical records
may be deposited in the Georgia Archives.
Attorney General Opinion 75-84:
states that the responsibilities of the Department of Archives and History are
limited to the distribution of rules and regulations, training and consultative
visits to agencies.
County Documents, definition
O.C.G.A. 36-9-5: defines a "county document" as any record
documenting property rights, deeds, and wills and tax records documenting
ownership and the latest valuations.
County Documents, Storage of
O.C.G.A. 36-9-5: requires county documents to be stored in a fireproof
safe, vault or container or on microfilm or at a location that is not more than
100 miles from the county and within the State of Georgia.
O.C.G.A. 50-18-99(f): states
that the department of Archives and History shall advise local governments of
historical records that may be stored in the Georgia Archives.
Court Records, Storage of
O.C.G.A. 15-6-86: states that the clerk of superior court with the
written permission of the governing authority and the superior court judge may
store court records in a data storage and retrieval facility outside the
originating county provided the facility meets certain contractual requirements
and the facility is in the State of Georgia.
Inspection of Public Records
O.C.G.A. 50-18-70 et. seq.:
provides guidelines and criteria for the inspection of public records. Also
known as the "Open Records Act".
Local Government, Governing Body, definition
O.C.G.A. 50-18-99a)(1) defines
"governing body’ as the governing body or authority of any county,
municipality, consolidated government and school board.
Local Government, responsibilities
O.C.G.A. 36-9-5(3): requires the county governing authority to furnish
fireproof equipment, microfilming equipment or some other safe facility for
O.C.G.A. 50-18-93: permits the
Department of Archives and History has the authority to develop and issue
standards for the microfilming of records.
O.C.G.A. 50-18-120: provides the
authority to establish microform standards with the state records committee.
Microfilm Resolution, approved 1-18-1996:
permits the destruction of all paper records of state agencies and local
governments that have been filmed in accordance with micrographic standards
approved by the state records committee unless specifically prohibited.
Ownership and Title of Public Records
O.C.G.A. 50-18-98: states that
the ownership and title of records transferred to the Georgia Archives
transfers with those records and that the ownership and title to records
transferred to the (a) records center remains with the creating agency.
Public Agency, definition
O.C.G.A. 50-14-1: states that every state department, agency, board,
bureau, commission, public corporation, and authority; every county, municipal
corporation, school district, or other political subdivision of this state;
every department, agency, board, bureau, commission, authority, or similar body
of each such county, municipal corporation, or other political subdivision of
the state; every city, county, regional, or other authority established
pursuant to the laws of this state; and any nonprofit organization which has a
direct allocation of tax funds from a governing authority of any agency that is
than 33 1/3 percent of the total funding for that organization is a public
O.C.G.A. 50-18-70(a): states that
any association, corporation, or other similar organization which has a
membership or ownership primarily of counties, municipal corporations, or
school districts and derives a substantial portion of its operating budget from
these political subdivisions is an "agency" or "public
O.C.G.A. 50-18-91(1): defines an
"agency" as any state office, division, board, bureau, commission,
authority, or other unit of state government created or established by law.
Public Record, definition
O.C.G.A. 50-18-70(a): defines
"public records" as all documents, papers, letters, maps, books,
tapes, photographs, computer based or generated information, or similar
material prepared and maintained or received in the course of the operation of
a public office or agency. This also means such items that are received or
maintained by a private person, firm, corporation or other private entity in
the performance of a service or function on behalf of a public office or
O.C.G.A. 50-18-91(5): defines
"records" as all documents, papers, letters, maps, books, microfilm,
magnetic tape, or other material, regardless of physical form of
characteristics, made or received pursuant to law or ordinance or in
performance of functions by an agency.
O.C.G.A. 50-18-99(c): states
that all records created or received in the performance of a public duty of
paid for by public funds by a governing body are deemed to be public property
and shall constitute a record of public acts.
Records Management Officer (RMO)
O.C.G.A. 50-18-94: requires
every state agency to designate a records management officer to operate the
agency records management program.
State Records Committee
O.C.G.A. 50-18-92: creates the
state records committee with the authority to review, approve, disapprove,
amend or modify retention schedules.
State Agency Head
O.C.G.A. 50-18-95: states that
agency heads have the authority to determine the nature and form of records
required for the administration of their departments.
Attorney General Opinion 75-84:
states that the agency head has direct supervisory control over his/her agency
records management officer and subject to state records committee approval
direct control over his/her records management program
State Agency responsibility
O.C.G.A. 50-18-94: lists the
duties and responsibilities of state agencies as pertaining to the
establishment and maintenance of an agency records management program.
Vital Records, definition
O.C.G.A. 50-18-91(10): defines
any record that is vital to the resumption, continuation, or maintenance of an
agency’s operations and responsibilities.