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Sunshine Week news roundup - Monday March 16

Today is Sunshine Day in Durham. We continue our daily wrapup of Sunshine Week related news and views from across the state. Today's highlights include a story on economic development incentive records from The Charlotte Observer and editorials from several newspapers. 

The Charlotte Observer reports on a change in the Public Records Act that took effect late last year and that removes many documents related to economic development incentives from the public eye. Local and state governments have long been able to withhold records related to incentive offers while they were negotiating with companies. In the past those records became public once a company decided whether or not it was going to expand or relocate in North Carolina. 

Last year the General Assembly created a new public-private partnership to handle jobs recruiting instead of the Department of Commerce. That new agency, Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, is subject to the public records law.

The General Assembly also changed the wording of the records law so that state and local governments only have to release records related to incentives if a company chooses to take the offer. When companies choose to expand or locate elsewhere, the records do not have to be released. 

The Observer recaps a number of important stories that gave insight into how well economic recruitment efforts were working in North Carolina that would no longer be possible for journalists to write under the new law. 

Editorials

The Fayetteville Observer encourages readers to take advantage of their right to know by asking for information.

 The StarNews writes that important personnel decisions made behind closed doors, without ever giving a public explanation, "feeds suspicions" and urges the legislature to reexamine the personnel exemptions. 

Opinion

An Asheville Citizen-Times reader writes in a letter that voters should demand open government from their candidates. 

Happening today

Today is Sunshine Day 2015, and the N.C. Open Government Coalition is celebrating with its annual conference in downtown Durham. It starts at 10 a.m.

The town of Carolina Shores is hosting an open house today in honor of Sunshine Week featuring a training program and a tour. It starts at 10 a.m.  

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management is holding a public meeting today at the Ramada Inn in Kill Devil Hills to seek residents input on offshore drilling. It runs from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. 

Happening tomorrow

The Carolina Public Press is hosting a Newsmakers forum in Sylva at the Jackson County Public Library at 6:30 p.m. 

Jonathan Jones,
Staff
3/16/2015 7:05 AM