RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – As a candidate, Pat McCrory pledged a transparent and accountable government. But now that he is governor, those seeking access to public records are often met with long delays and unprecedented demands for payment.
McCrory’s staff has interpreted a sentence in North Carolina’s public records law as providing broad authority for a “special service charge” on any documents taking more than 30 minutes for an employee to retrieve, copy and return. The fees are in contrast to the primary principle in the law, which states that such records “are the property of the people” and that copies should be promptly provided for “free or at minimal cost.”
Lawyers representing some of the state’s largest newspapers and broadcasters say the payment demands are unjustified and improper.
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