Editorial: Republican duo forging bad bill

Mar. 07, 2013 @ 04:39 PM

Greensboro Republican Trudy Wade and Raleigh Republican Andrew Brock are making another attempt at destroying transparency and putting numerous government entities in fiscal liability jeopardy.

Senate Bill 186 would have all public notices put on government websites. You read that right — no checks and balances, not for the state government, county governments or city governments.

There’ll be no standard of excellence, no interference from the public and those without computers or burdened to have access are just out of luck. Gov. Pat McCrory has pledged transparency, but these two of his GOP stable mates are on a different page.

The public has relied on a neutral observer — the local media, specifically the local newspaper — because of our integrity, bolstered by our neutrality. We are the first place the public looks for information about its government.

The legislators who decades ago made this legal requirement wanted good business practices, sunshine on their actions. Lawmakers work for the public, and backroom maneuvers will be easily hatched if notices go unnoticed.

Not only does the bill of Wade and Brock potentially cost more of us on the front end by requiring us all to have access to computers, it costs the government entities — most of which could more wisely spend their money in communities, not in software and personnel. Every government entity will have to insure a secure site, error-free handling of notices and have verification procedures in place. Affidavits may also need to be provided. Newspapers already handle all these aspects.

If the notice is run incorrectly, our litigious society will have another lawsuit. For smaller governments, that’s an incredible liability paid by local taxpaying residents.

Government has proven it cannot police itself. So who monitors public notices? Dozens of hearings in the last six years have ended the same — with this idea rejected.

But we have to tell them. Do the right thing and tell your legislator now, either by email or by phone.

Rep. Nathan Baskerville can be contacted at (919) 733-5824, (252) 572-4495 or nathan.baskerville@ncleg.net; Rep. Winkie Wilkins can be contacted at (919) 715-0850, (336) 599-7336 or winkie.wilkins@ncleg.net; Sen. Angela Bryant can be contacted at (919) 733-5878, (252) 442-4022 or angela.bryant@ncleg.net; and Sen. Floyd McKissick Jr. can be contacted at (919) 733-4599, (919) 490-5373 or floyd.mckissick@ncleg.net.

Senate Bill 186 must be rejected.