Stormclouds for Sunshine Amendment
Looks like more delays are ahead for Rep. Stephen LaRoque's Sunshine Amendment, H87, after his GOP peers rejected its latest incarnation.Posted — Updated
Looks like more delays are ahead for Rep. Stephen LaRoque’s Sunshine Amendment, House Bill 87.
The measure aims to make it more difficult for state lawmakers to restrict access to public records or meetings, requiring a three-fifths vote for the legislature to pass any law that would close or tighten public access.
It’s an idea most everyone agrees is a good one, at least when they’re asked about it on camera. But the devil is in the execution, apparently.
But this time, the opposition came from his fellow Republicans – kind, but authoritative.
Majority Leader Paul Stam said the Constitution says the legislature can enact laws with a majority vote, and a mere statute couldn’t overturn the constitution. That requires a constitutional amendment, he said.
Rep. John Blust, R-Guilford, agreed a law wouldn’t do the job. “Maybe it has some value symbolically, but I don’t believe it would bind a future General Assembly.”
“I’m sympathetic to you,” Blust added almost sheepishly. “But I don’t see a way around it.”
LaRoque was clearly caught off guard, sipping some water as he sought to collect his thoughts. His Rules co-chair Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, joked it was the first time he’d seen LaRoque speechless.
LaRoque and Moore adjourned the meeting without further debate.
Afterward, LaRoque said he has a Plan C for the bill – taking it back to a constitutional amendment in its newly simplified form. Watch the clip for his comments.
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