We are the Sunshine Center of the North Carolina Open Government Coalition. If you are a records or meetings holder or someone seeking access to records or meetings, we hope this site will be a useful resource. Check out our educational resources about open government.
The North Carolina Open Government Coalition unites organizations interested in ensuring and enhancing the public's access to government activity, records and meetings. The nonpartisan coalition will educate people about their rights and support their efforts to gain access, and advocate the principles and benefits of open government. Education is critically important these days because, according to Elon Poll results, a majority of North Carolina residents are unaware of sunshine laws.
The administration of Gov. Pat McCrory is claiming sovereign immunity in a public records lawsuit filed by several media and advocacy organizations. On Tuesday, the Court of Appeals dismissed that claim and returned the case to the trial court.
The General Assembly called its fourth special session of the year Wednesday afternoon. A regulatory reform bill filed in the House would create a new exemption for certain information held by the public utility comission, expand two other existing exemptions related to personal information and would significantly change how government agencies can provide access to public records. A separate bill would exempt photographs of people who have been arrested. A third would exempt certain information about community association managers.
A police shooting of a civilian in Charlotte that was caught on video by dashboard and body cameras has raised questions about how the current Public Records Law and a new revision that takes effect Oct. 1 apply. We try to provide some answers.
With the General Assembly back in Raleigh for the biannual short session, the legislature is once again considering bills that would effect government transparency. So far they've passed four new exemptions to the Public Records Law, including one for body-worn camera and dash camera video collected by law enforcement.
A bill that removes all police video, including body cameras, dash cameras and surveillance, from public records passed the House and Senate this week. It creates a limited right of access for people who appear in the videos and allows a superior court judge to release the video if there's a compelling public interest.
Superior Court Judge Carla Archie told Belmont Tuesday to turn over to the court a copy of an independent investigative report into the city's police department that led to the firing of the chief and resignations of two other officers. The document is at the center of a public records lawsuit. The city contends it is protected as a personnel record. The siblings who asked for the file contend it is outside the scope of the personnel law.
Freelance writer and N.C. Open Government Coalition member Tom Bennett conducted a review of how easy it is to access basic information about county commissioners in 28 western counties. He found that some counties, such as Catawba, make it easy for citizens to keep tabs on their government, and others have a long way to go.
The winners of the Second Annual N.C. Open Government Coalition Sunshine Award Contest were announced Monday in Hickory. They are Henderson County Attorney Charles Russell Burrell, WRAL.com reporter Tyler Dukes and Carolina Public Press Open Government Contributor Jon Elliston.