Georgia officials back off archives plan
MORROW, Ga. — When Georgia officials announced plans to severely restrict public access to its state archives, it set off a firestorm not only among scholars and people tracing their family roots, but national historical groups.
Archives supporters expressed outrage at plans to limit access to appointments-only on six days a month to view some of the state's most valuable papers, from the fading parchment of the 1798 Georgia state constitution to Jimmy Carter's 1976 statement of candidacy. They collected more than 17,000 signatures on an online petition, rallied at the State Capitol and hired a lobbyist.
On Thursday, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal and Secretary of State Brian Kemp backed off of the plan – sort of. Deal announced that he was restoring $125,000 of a $733,000 budget cut so that the archives could remain open two days a week and visitors could view records without making an appointment.
"Georgia's Archives are a showcase of our state's rich history and a source of great pride," Deal said in a statement, which did not address the fate of seven workers who recently received pink slips effective Nov. 1. Three other employees – new archives director Chris Davidson, an archivist and a building manager – will definitely stay....
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