Pursuant to NC General Statute 153A-169, which empowers boards of commissioners to regulate the use of county property; Buncombe County would like to restrict broadcasting and recording at Health and Human Services offices. That seems reasonable. People go there to get help, when they’re looking really gross and not wanting to get on camera. No evil perp interested in turning around to help, for example, a victim, should be dissuaded from doing the right thing.

The problem is the vague wording that follows. The proposed ordinance states:

The Buncombe County Board of Social Services Policy entitled “Broadcasting and Recording at Social Services Facilities” is applicable to all Health and Human Services locations, including but not limited to, offices in the Buncombe County Courthouse, and other Buncombe County buildings and offices as determined by the County Manager, where the confidentiality of health and social services records or the identity of persons protected under state and federal law need to be protected.

It appears to give the county manager deeming powers that trump the inalienable right to free speech. Of course, we’ve been told a million times that broad language could never be misconstrued.