A Constitutional Access Provision Dies in North Carolina…

Sad news from Raleigh…

The House Rules Committee on Wednesday eclipsed an effort to write open government into the N.C. Constitution.

The proposal would have enshrined the right of people to inspect public records and attend public meetings in the N.C. Constitution. Any restrictions to those rights would have to be passed by a supermajority, or three-fifths, of both the House and the Senate.

Charles Broadwell, publisher of the Fayetteville Observer and president of the N.C. Press Association, asked Rules Committee members to support what has been dubbed the “Sunshine Amendment.”

“We do not see this as a press bill,” Broadwell said. “This is about the right of the people and open government.”

The sponsor of the bill, Rep. Stephen LaRoque, R-Lenoir, pleaded with committee members to support the proposal. “If you support open government, vote for the bill,” LaRoque said. “If you don’t support open government, don’t vote for the bill.”

Some committee members, however, questioned whether the proposal ought to be placed in the N.C. Constitution.

“I’m not a big fan of constitutional amendments,” said Rep. Joe Hackney, D-Orange. “It’s just not good public policy to put this in the constitution.”

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