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Wilson Times: Laws would open more records, meetings

From the Wilson Times (3/16/13): State lawmakers filed two bills to give North Carolina residents more access to public records and meetings in the midst of a weeklong open government campaign.

Sen. Thom Goolsby, a Wilmington Republican, introduced the Sunshine Amendment and Government Transparency Act on Thursday to coincide with Sunshine Week, a national initiative to preserve and strengthen freedom of information laws. Sen. Wesley Meredith, a Fayetteville Republican, co-sponsored both bills.

“I just feel like people are reaching a fever pitch to want to be involved in their government, and they’re tired of being stonewalled and locked out,” Goolsby said. ”We want to focus on accountability — letting the people know what’s being done with their money, in their buildings, on their time and in their name.”

Senate Bill 331 would place a constitutional amendment for open meetings and public records on the 2014 general election ballot. The Sunshine Amendment would make documents and meetings presumptively public unless there’s a specific exemption in state law.

“Every person has the right to inspect or copy any public record made or received in connection with the official business of any public body, officer or employee of the state, or persons acting on their behalf, except with respect to records exempted pursuant to this section,” the amendment reads.

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Colin Donohue,
3/18/2013 9:09 AM