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.
A two-story gay pride flag was hung from Asheville City Hall Thursday in anticipation of a historic civil rights ruling. The city council apparently approved the display outside of a public meeting and the decision has drawn an open meetings complaint.
Watauga Democrat: A recently formed nonprofit has hit multiple hurdles after requesting records related to a Boone water intake project on the New River. The group is now asking for mediation over the dispute.
Watauga Democrat: A Watauga GOP leader requested emails of a professor, who is active in Democratic politics, in October 2013. The university says the dealy is a result of the size of the request, which covers more than 19,000 emails.
StarNews: The same information was the subject of a public records request from the StarNews, which has since sued to get access.
The City of Greensboro considers video collected by body worn cameras to be personnel records of the individual officers. The panel discussion was intended to spur discussion about possible changes to the public records law.
Earlier this year the ethics commission pulled its online portal of disclosure forms over privacy concerns from public officials. The deadline to comment is Oct. 3
The City of Greensboro is hosting a panel discussion on the use of body-worn cameras by police officers and the state's public records law. The Sept. 30 discussion will include civil rights, press and government lawyers.
Asheville Citizen-Times: Despite claiming videos of public rallies - from Mountain Moral Monday to Tea Party events - were made for training purposes, the Asheville police denied a records request to inspect them citing the criminal intelligence exemption.
CBSSports: The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Louisiana State University were the only two public schools to deny scholarship records requests. CBS' reporter sought information about how many multi-year athletic scholarships the universities awarded, how many were not renewed, generic copies of scholarship agreements and documentation of non-renewal policies.
The Stokes News: The Stokes County Board of County Commissioners met in closed session 75 times over a period of four years. Democratic Party leaders in the community are questioning the propriety of the meetings and why minutes have not been released.
The Star-News of Wilmington filed an open records lawsuit Thursday against Charter Day School, Inc. over financial records. The paper asked for the records in May.
Star-News: Lack of transparency in removal of public official has created tension in the gated community of St. James, which is also incorporated as a municipality.
WRAL requested the agency-level data from the Department of Public Safety, which said the information was covered by the security plan exemption to the state public records law. North Carolina is one of a small number of states that has refused to release the information.
WFMY News 2: Greensboro officials are putting together a panel discussion on when and how video recorded by cameras worn by police officers should be released to the public.
The General Assembly passed a budget over the weekend that contains new public records law exemptions for schematic diagrams of school buildings, and scholarship applications to the State Education Assistance Authority. The budget bill is now on the desk of Governor Pat McCrory.
On Wednesday, the Senate passed HB 366, which creates a special exemption from the public records law for complaints made tot he Department of Environment and Natural Resources about violations on agricultural operations. The bill returned to the House, Thursday, which also approved the final version.
Star-News: Several media outlets began requesting records related to Charter Day School Inc. in May. Some records were turned over. For others, the school said it would respond by Monday. Now it says it will be two more weeks pending a change in state law.
Watchdog.org: Requests for email of two university professors were denied on the grounds that the emails on N.C. State accounts related to private consulting jobs and therefore did not qualify as public records.
Fayetteville Observer: A bill making state government records related to military base realignment a secret unamimously passed the General Assembly Wednesday and is headed to Gov. McCrory. The information will become public after federal officials announce realignment decisions.
The two faculty members from Elon University's School of Communications offered presentations to rising high school seniors.
The Daily Tar Heel: Superior Court Judge Howard Manning ordered that search warrants and a 911 call related to the 2012 killing of Faith Hedgepeth be unsealed. The records had remained sealed since shortly after the UNC junior's death.
Charlotte Observer: Gov. Pat McCrory vowed Monday to override a charter school reform bill if it allows schools to withhold names of employees.
Charlotte Observer (6/27/14): As some charter school's around the state have balked at providing employee names and salaries under the public records law, the Senate moved to make it clear that charter schools must comply. The House approved an amendment to the bill Thursday that would allow the schools to withhold only the employees' names.
Gov. Pat McCrory on Tuesday signed an economic development reform bill that significantly reduces the amount of information available under the public records law.
News & Record (6/18/2014): Photographs taken of people after they are arrested would only become public records upon conviction if a proposal pending in the General Assembly passes into law.
WRAL (6/4/2014): As part of a reorganization of how economic development activities are carried out in North Carolina, the General Assembly is considering broadening the public records exemption for tax incentives programs.
A provision in the budget bill would require records seekers asking for booking photographs to affirmatively state their intent for the photograph. The bill would make it a crime to publish mug shot photos for publishers that demand money before taking them down. It also would require publishers to remove or retract the photographs and any descriptions of an arrest if the charges are dropped or the person is acquitted.
Independent Tribune: A bill introduced last week would require school systems to create schematic diagrams of school facilities and then provide a copy to local law enforcement. The diagrams would be exempted from the public records law.
WRAL (5/20/14): A bill introduced last week in the General Assembly would create an exemption from the public records law for any document that contains aerial photographs or GPS data of farms.
News & Observer (5/20/2014): Superior Court Judge Bryan Collins ruled Monday that releasing a spreadsheet that shows athletes enrollment in by sport in fraudulant classes, with names redacted, would violate federal student privacy protections.
Winston-Salem Journal (5/12/14): Judge Thomas Schroder of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina heard arguments Friday on the concept of legislative immunity. The arguments were part of a challenge to the state's new voter ID requirement. The ruling could potentially have an effect on the N.C. Public Records Law.
Triangle Business Journal (5/6/2014): Richard Lindenmuth, interim CEO of the Economic Development Partnership of N.C., told the TBJ that the records law was to blame for Toyota choosing Texas over North Carolina for its new North American headquarters.
News & Observer (5/2/2014): Wake County Superior Court Judge Bryan Collins will review UNC-Chapel Hill records that show enrollments of athletes in fraudulent classe as part of a public records lawsuit brought by the newspaper.
At a town hall-style meeting of the Lee County commissioners last month, residents were required to give their names to a security guard before being allowed onto the property. The meeting was in a private, gated-community. One of the residents, Joseph Calendine, who was initially turned away by the security guards before giving his name filed a lawsuit Friday against the commissioners. He's asking the court for an injunction requiring the commissioners to comply with the North Carolina Open Meetings Law.
Sunshine Day 2014 will be held on Monday, March 17 on the campus of Elon University. Check here for information about late registration, parking and finding the Lakeside conference rooms on campus
WRAL (3/13/14): A lawyer who practices unemployment law sued the state under the open records law earlier this month after the Division of Employment Security announced plans to reduce the frequency of releases about people who are denied benefits. A superior court judge issued a temporary injunction Thursday preventing the division from making that change until the case is heard.
Wilson Daily Times (3/9/14): The Attorney General's Office sent Middlesex a letter suggesting that it should reconsider its policy of charging $34 an hour for requests that take more than 30 minutes to fulfill. The letter also offered to mediate disputes between residents and the town
Sanford Herald (3/8/14): Lee County commissioners held a town hall-style meeting in the private Carolina Trace community Friday night. Residents who refused to give their names to the Carolina Trace security guard were denied entry.
From WUNC (3/7/2014): Conservative think tank Civitas Institute made a public records request last fall for the emails of UNC law professor Gene Nichol. Professors from around the state decried the records request as politically motivated. One thousand emails were recently turned over to Civitas, which after analyzing them says an anti-poverty program put together by Nichol amounted to a political activity. Nichol is director of UNC's Center on Poverty.
The Watauga County Board of Education is holding a special meeting to consider the use of a book, "The House of the Spirits," by a high school class. Rather than require the public to obtain tickets in advance, the meeting is being moved to a larger space in the county courthouse.
In 2011 LexisNexis sought to copy a court records database controlled by the Administrative Office of the Courts. AOC claimed it was not the custodian of the database and declined to turn it over. The Court of Appeals ruled in favor of LexisNexis.
Carolina Public Press: In response to Attorney General Roy Cooper's letter criticising the public records policy of the governor's office requiring special charges for records requests that take more than 30 minutes to fill, the governor's general counsel, Bob Stephens cited Asheville and Charlotte as examples of local governments that also have special surcharge policies. The Carolina Public Press caught up with municipal workers who handle public records in those places and said that charges are rarely, if ever, assessed.
The Sunshine Center of the North Carolina Open Government Coalition is pleased to announce Sunshine Day 2014. The March 17 event will focus on using technology to bring transparency to state and local governments.
In January, Attorney General Roy Cooper wrote Gov. Pat McCrory a letter indicating that the governor's office practice of charging for public records requests that take more than 30 minutes violates the spirit of the N.C. Open Records Law. Cooper's letter became public on Friday.
Spring Hope Enterprise (12/13/13): Despite several citizen complaints and concerns from the N.C. Attorney General's Office over the town's public records policy, council members declined to address the issue at a meeting this week.
Public Policy Polling (12/12/13): In a poll released Thursday, Public Policy Polling asked voters about the policy of Gov. Pat McCrory's administration to charge for public records requests that take more than 30 minutes to fulfill. Sixty-two percent of voters don't approve.
Nearly two out of three respondents in the latest Elon University Poll are unaware that North Carolina laws exist to make many state government records open to inspection by residents.
An Elon University Poll shows that only 30.5 percent of respondents were aware that the state has laws making government records and meetings public. A significant number (41.4 percent) also view the state as being less transparent now than it was five years ago. The poll also asked about how much public records should cost and whether certain records should be public.
From the News & Observer (11/27/2013): The Civitas Insitute requested six weeks worth of e-mails and phone records from University of North Carolina School of Law Professor Gene Nichol after Nichol published an op-ed column critical of Gov. Pat McCrory. Thirty faculty members from the law school then signed a letter published in the Chapel Hill News complaining that "surveilling a professor’s communications is a really troubling approach to protecting liberty."
From the Associated Press (11/26/2013): Gov. Pat McCrory's administration has interpreted state law to allow a "special service charge" for any record request that takes more than 30 minutes to fulfill. The charges are unprecedented.