Under the Dome

What guarantees government sunshine? A consitutional protection

North Carolina's open government laws don't hold a match to the "Sunshine Law" in Florida.

What's the biggest difference? Barbara Petersen, the president of the First Amendment Foundation in Florida, gave reporters and government officials at a panel discussion Wednesday a simple answer: It's in the Florida Constitution.

In 1992, Florida voters approved a referendum to put language guaranteeing access to public records and government meetings in the state's founding document. Petersen said it's what creates a culture of openness. Under the provisions in Section 24, the state legislature is the sole body to define what is public and open and what isn't -- which often leads to legislation closing the door on certain records. But it keeps local judges and governments from enforcing different standards, said Petersen, who spoke at Sunshine Day 2012 at Elon University. (Follow the action on Twitter @NCOpenGov.)

Open meetings and public records laws make it easier for members of the public to discover and understand their government -- and for the media to inform them about their tax dollars at work.


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The N&O keeps pushing this

The N&O keeps pushing this issue so they can have unfettered access to anything government produces. Their so called reporters are too lazy to actually do their jobs, so they want access to all documents so they can data mine for information to take out of context to "prove" their latest contrived scandal. The media demands all government information while they hide behind the constitution to protect their often made up sources or "tips" from disgruntled employees when they are challenged. One more example of how irrelevant the scandal mongering McClatchy organization has made the news media in North Carolina. I think the National Enquirer is more professional than some of the reporters at the N&O, current and former.

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