Wednesday, June 05, 2024

Republicans Are Terrified of Sunlight


Last September, the Republican super-majority in both houses of the NC General Assembly passed a budget that included  a provision  to allow lawmakers to determine what qualifies as a public record and to destroy the items that they unilaterally determine are not public records. Or even sell the records they think they can make a profit from. But most importantly, hide their maneuverings, plots, and dirty deeds behind a stone wall.

The John Locke org -- of all people -- commissioned a poll following that hide-everything-from-the-public-view addition to the state's budget and found that "93.5% of likely voters in the state believe open records laws are important in maintaining accountability, with a majority believing they are  extremely  important. Support for open records is exceedingly bipartisan, with over 90% of both Democrats and Republicans recognizing its importance."

Nevertheless, Republicans in the General Assembly are very satisfied with their own secrecy and aren't about to change.

Sen. Meyer
Enter Democratic Senator Graig Meyer from Orange County who is the chief sponsor/writer of a proposed constitutional amendment that would guarantee the public's right to all government records and meetings. (Hattip to Bryan Anderson for uncovering this development.) And here you were thinking (probably) that we already had that right, but you would be wrong, since Republicans slipped that secrecy clause into the budget last year.

Sen. Meyer admits that his constitutional amendment has less-than-zero chance of passing this Republican General Assembly, but at least he's raising the profile of Republican secrecy and lack of accountability. Like, who do they think they are? Donald J. Trump? And thereby above the law, the scrutiny of the voters, if not history itself?

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