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Goolsby wants to punish open records, meeting violators with jail


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Sen. Thom Goolsby says it's time officials who violate state public records and open meetings laws are punished. That's why he's filed a bill that would could send violators to jail.

If Goolsby gets his way, violating these laws could get you up to 20 days behind bars.

"People who have been in Wilmington for a while remember what happened several years ago when the ABC Board had a closed meeting and kept no record, and there was basically nothing that could be done about it," Goolsby said.

It's a problem Goolsby says he wants to tackle head on.

"As a citizen, you face being charged with a misdemeanor for parking in a private parking lot, but as a state official, there is no punishment for you unlawfully denying citizens records and meeting attendance, and that is ridiculous," Goolsby said.

The Wilmington Republican says his bill, the Open Meeting, Open Record Violation Law, works to change this.

"It says that if any state official - elected or appointed or bureaucrat - closes a record or closes a meeting that should otherwise be available to the public they will suffer a potential penalty of being charged with a Class 3 misdemeanor," Goolsby said.

Goolsby says right now the only penalty for officials violating your rights is paying for an attorney.

"What this does is it will overnight, once passed, turn the lights on in north carolina when it comes to government records and government meetings," he said.

Goolsby says politicians against the bill don't want the public to know what they're doing with your money, on your time and in your buildings. He says he is downright sick of it.

The bill now heads to committee.

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Make it retro active

That way Saffo and his Secretive Serpents will have to divulge meetings regarding the Convention Center, the Ballpark and the parking Deck.

Oh and as far as the misdemeanor charge goes? Add to that a codicil that those charged can no longer seek elected office.


Public Record Requests

Goolsby is an IDIOT! He is just trying to make it look like he has submitted a lot of bills for approvial. N.C.G.S. § 132-1(a) states the following: Every custodian of public records shall permit any record in the custodian's custody to be inspected and examined at reasonable times and under reasonable supervision by any person, and shall, as promptly as possible, furnish copies thereof upon payment of any fees as may be prescribed by law. N.C.G.S. § 132-1 also states that government agencies do not have to create special reports when the public requests them. If we had to create all the stupid requests for information that we receive from news agencies, we'd have to hire a few more people just to forefill these requests. Ask for something we have; most government offices will provide it without a hassle. Send us an idiot-odd-ek request we're going to ignore you!

Oh well, I guess when I get out jail after the 20 day sentence I could always sell drugs, looks like that is not a jailable offence.

If you had just taken the time to read the article

you would have read about an ABC meeting where NO records were even kept, so NO information could even be requested.

Sounds like you're one of those people who're part of the problem. Also sounds like you've got an arrogant attitude about it as well.

You're exactly the type of person Goolsby is referring to. Thanks for outing yourself with this post. Your post is a classic example of how some of our leader really think.

You sound like a bureaucrap

You sound like a bureaucrap with something to hide.

Tom you are doing a good job

Tom you are doing a good job for your area, hope you keep it up, instead of constantly trying to squeeze more money out of taxpayers like some of your counterparts, you are trying to make government empoyees responsible for their actions, I just wish Rabon was more like you.

jail time for open record violations

My feeling is, jail is for violent criminals. While this is a crime, financial penalties would make more sense and would make a bigger impact on those thinking of breaking these laws. Or we could issue GPS leggings and put them under house arrest. They would have to pay for the GPS and for the coverage, nothing out of law-abiding citizen's pockets.

Great start. Now will DAs

Great start. Now will DAs acrross NC have the guts to prosecute violators?

Will It Hold Water?

One can only hope so. Expanding, how about holding our honorables to the same standards in which we live by. Health care, retirement and such. we may never see it but this is a good start. thanks Thom.

didn't realize that secret meetings were so widespread

but i certainly do remember when ABC did that. It puzzled me as to why the county commissioners recently decided to give them a raise with that incident being so fresh in the public consciousness.

If this is true, why does the county have to publicly divulge all emails sent across the county network?