Charlotte Observer: Fighting the dangers of government secrecy

From the Charlotte Observer (3/2/11): Few things are more dangerous to a free society than government secrecy. A government that operates outside the public's watchful eye gets into all kinds of mischief, none of it with the greater public good in mind.

That’s why the N.C. House Rules Committee, when it meets today, should unanimously approve House Bill 87. That bill would let the public vote on a state constitutional amendment that protects the public’s right to know what its government is doing. Specifically, it would codify in the Constitution that anyone can inspect and copy any public record and that meetings of governmental bodies are open to the public.

This is already state law, but Rep. Stephen LaRoque’s bill making it part of the Constitution would make it harder for misguided legislators to lock the public out of its own business. It would keep current exceptions in place, but would also require a two-thirds legislative supermajority to create any new exemptions.

It’s hard to imagine a strong argument against open government. Any legislators who oppose it take their constituents for fools who are not to be trusted with access to what the wise government officials are doing and saying.

Read the full story …