Open government needs enforcement

Opinion from

North Carolina’s open government laws are good. But enforcement is weak.

A Republican state senator from Wilmington is trying to add muscle, proposing a bill to make it a misdemeanor for public officials to unlawfully close meetings or deny access to records.

“This is the public’s record,” Thom Goolsby, an attorney, said at a committee meeting where the bill was considered Tuesday. “This is a public meeting and when you close the meeting down or deny the public record, there should be a requirement — something on the officials who do that rather than just saying, ‘We’re just going to let you file a lawsuit.’ ”