City of Wilson seeks to rewrite public records law

The Wilson Times has reported on a bill authored by Rep. Susan Martin, R-Wilson, that would exempt information related to alarm registrations from the state Public Records law.

The legislation would apply only to the city of Wilson, but the effect could be to erode the Public Records Law and eventually turn into statewide legislation.

The Times article quotes SMVT attorneys Mike Tadych and Amanda Martin about the proposal.

The state records law does not exclude alarm registrations, said N.C. Press Association [attorney] Mike Tadych.

“I’m not familiar with alarm registration ordinances in general and really don’t know why a local government would require alarm owners to provide the government with any information,” press attorney Amanda Martin said. “If it’s really targeted at alarm owners who have their systems linked into the police force — so that the police are dispatched in the event of an alarm — I can understand why the city might want to restrict access to a very limited amount of information, such as alarm codes.

“However, I see no reason that the city would need or want to collect or restrict access to more general information.”

Martin also questions the intent of the draft legislation, which could serve to erode the state public records law.

“This seems very broadly worded and would seem to sweep out of public view everything about the program, since it not only includes information from citizens compiled by the city but also information generated by the city,” Martin said. “This approach seems to reach far beyond any legitimate safety or confidentiality concerns.”

You can read the entire article here.