The Georgia Archives finds itself on more stable ground in the coming year after several important legislative session victories, according to the Society of Georgia Archives (SGA).
Both houses of the Georgia General Assembly approved a measure allowing the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia (USG) to take over management of the Georgia Archives from the Secretary of State's Office. This transfer includes appropriations required for operation and assets of the Georgia Archives.
The vote sends House Bill 287 to Gov. Nathan Deal's desk for signature.
The bill would transfer the archives starting July 1. The USG has already formed a task force to recommend how to handle the transition.
“With its dedication to scholarship, research, and public service, the University System is well positioned to offer a nurturing home for the Archives,” SGA said in a Monday press release.
Deal pledged last year to cut the archives' ties to the Secretary of State's Office, where it bore the brunt of over $730,000 in budget cuts.
Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp announced public closure of the state archives Sept. 13. The Archives, located in Morrow, escaped closure proposals limiting visits by appointment only.
Luckily, Gov. Nathan Deal and Kemp announced in the middle of October that the state would restore $125,000 to Kemp's budget to keep the Georgia State Archives open for the remainder of the budget year.
Deal announced in January's 2014 budget proposal the state would set aside $4.3 million for the archives. The proposal would fund 10 positions at the Morrow institution, but it would not restore the jobs of five additional employees lost to layoffs Nov. 1.
The General Assembly's legislative session move agreed to additional budget funds of $300,000.
“Starting in July, these additional funds should allow the Archives to re-hire some of the staff lost last fall and open to the public an extra day or so per week,” SGA said.
Pending those decisions, the Morrow facility keeps its current Friday through Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. open research schedule.
The Morrow facility houses legal, property, state government, county and family records dating as far back as 1733.
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