by Barry Smith
As Sunshine Week approaches its conclusion, state Sen. Thom Goolsby has filed a couple more open government bills.
One is a proposed constitutional amendment known as the “Sunshine Amendment.” It would write open government principles into the N.C. Constitution, requiring any new measures restricting access to meetings or public records to pass with a supermajority of votes in both chambers of the General Assembly.
A similar amendment was attempted two years ago in the House, but eventually died in committee.
If this bill passes the General Assembly, voters would be given the opportunity to approve or disapprove it in November 2014.
A second bill, called the Government Transparency Act, would make more personnel information about government employees public. For example, performance evaluations, which are currently not public, would be considered public.
It would also strengthen provisions for awarding attorneys’ fees for people who sue to enforce compliance with open government laws.