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Wilson Times: Bill adds teeth to state laws on open meetings, records

From The Wilson Times (2/21/13): Officials who refuse to release public records or shut North Carolina residents out of open meetings could face criminal penalties under a bill filed Thursday.

Senate Bill 125 would make violations of the state public records and open meetings laws a Class 3 misdemeanor. State Sen. Buck Newton, a Wilson Republican, is co-sponsor of the bill introduced by Sens. Thom Goolsby and Tom Apodaca.

“Right now, there’s no teeth in that law,” said Goolsby, a Wilmington Republican. “When you have trouble with a governmental authority who won’t provide you records or won’t let you into a meeting, all you can do now is sue.”

While North Carolina newspapers are among the bill’s strongest backers, the N.C. Press Association says it’s designed to empower individual residents who are less likely than media outlets to sue violators.

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Colin Donohue,
2/22/2013 10:12 AM