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Posted: March 27, 2012 3:03 p.m.

Public records changes headed to Gov.

ATLANTA (AP) - Legislation to change Georgia's open government laws is headed to Gov. Nathan Deal's desk after the Senate overwhelmingly approved it.

The measure will allow an exemption for the state's economic development department, which argued that sensitive deals could be otherwise jeopardized and would shorten the window of public scrutiny for people being considered to run the state's colleges or its university system.

The cost of getting government documents would drop to 10 cents from 25 cents per page. Government officials who unlawfully withhold public records could face a fine of up to $1,000 for a first offense, an increase over the current maximum fine of $500. Additional violations within a one-year period would carry a maximum $2,500 penalty.

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