They Have ‘Em Sweating in North Carolina!

A legislative proposal that would make access to government records and meetings a constitutional right is drawing fire from lobbyists for local governments.

Representatives of county commissioners, municipalities, school boards and sheriffs all testified against the bill during a hearing last week in a state House committee.

If approved, the bill would put an amendment to the state constitution on the fall 2012 ballot for voters across the state to consider.

“We need to do this so that open government truly is a right rather than a privilege,” said Rep. Stephen LaRoque, a Kinston Republican who co-sponsored the bill.

“It’s pretty clear why these groups are against this: It’s because they’re in opposition to open government,” he said. “There’s just no way to debate this from their side because you have to ask them, ‘OK, what are you worried about? Are you trying to hide something that you shouldn’t?’ ”

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