11/06/10 277 W - + 5 - 5 Public Records and Sunshine

As someone who loves learning about local fire departments and their operations and plans, public records are a godsend. City minutes, town minutes, requests for bids, bid awards, you name it. This reader is a bonafide geek. There are also laws that require such public information, and they're commonly called "sunshine laws." That's why the web address of those Cary town minutes in the prior posting fittingly contains the word "sunshine." So-called "sunshine laws" also relate to open meeting laws. 

For your consideration for Saturday discussion, what's your perception or experience with "sunshine laws." What are your experiences and opinions of requests for information, be they from citizens, journalists, peers, or officials? How do public records and open meeting requirements impact your departments? There will be some apples to oranges here. Say, municipal-provided services versus those delivered by private corporations. As well as differences among municipalities themselves, at least as observed from trying to find information on the Internet between Town X and Town Y, or City A and City B.

And that's the whole reason that we're here. The Internet age. The availability of digital data. In days of old, when knights were bold, you had to trek to city hall. Now there's this thing called Google. Type a few words, and the secrets of the universe are revealed within seconds. And its been that way for some years now. What's been the impact? What's still needed? Discuss as desired, even though this may be both (a.) a snoozer to some readers and (b.) perhaps tricky for official opinions from others.

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