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.
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.
From the Charlotte Observer (11/13/2013): The town of Indian Trail is considering a revamp of its records policy that would require seekers to pay deposits and hourly fees up to $43 an hour.
From The Wilson Times (11/11/2013): The N.C. Department of Justice and Office of the State Chief Information Officer will review complaints about the town charging more than $20 an hour for records requests that take more than 30 minutes to fulfill.
Daily Yonder (10/22/2013): The airport authority, which changed names a few times over the years, never kept records of its meetings.
From the Wilson Times (10/18/2013): The town of Middlesex adopted a policy
in January charging up to $26 an hour for public records requests to be fulfilled. The paper says Attorney General Roy Cooper said he has "real concerns" about the fees and that the Department of Justice would investigate.
News & Record: A proposed bill by a family law attorney from Greensboro would re-open pistol purchase permit and concealed carry weapons permit records to domestic violence victims and require they be given notice when abusers are trying to obtain a weapon.
The Sylva Herald (10/10/2013): In considering a vacancy on the town council, the board decided to appoint a new member by using paper ballots without recording how each member voted.
Carolina Public Press (10/10/13): Both the Asheville Police Department and the Buncombe County Sheriff's Office are now using the Police 2 Citizen database, which makes reports available to the public in a searchable format.
From North Carolina Health News (10/8/2013): Track changes in Word documents show that incoming Medicaid head Carol Steckel heavily edited a Department of Health and Human Services departmental response to a state audit. The final version ommitted defenses of Medicaid spending.
As of July 1, 2013 several State agencies, including the Departments of Administration, Health & Human Services, and Environment and Natural Resources adopted new public records policies that tax public records requesters with “special service charges.”
From The Wilson Times (8/30/13):Wilson County’s interim health director said he’ll consider revising policies for public records requests that may violate state law.
From WCNC.com (8/19/13): Four former reporters who sued over closed door meetings between the Charlotte City Council and Carolina Panthers Owner Jerry Richardson have now filed an ethics complaint saying the meetings violated North Carolina Open Records laws.
The North Carolina Open Government Coalition will hold its fall board meeting from 12-1:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 10 in McEwen 213.
From the Watauga Democrat (8/10/13): Boone town officials have rewritten the definition of the word, "prompt."
From the Digital Media Law Project (7/25/13): The failure to comply with a records request for email metadata will cost a Washington city more than half a million dollars in statutory and attorney's fees, a Washington Superior Court judge recently decided. On June 28, 2013, the judge ordered the City of Shoreline to pay $538,555 after the Washington Supreme Court ruled that metadata associated with public records is subject to disclosure under the state's open records law.
From the Lumina News (7/24/13): With the release of results from the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina’s public records requests from the 11 law enforcement agencies currently using Automated License Plate Recognition Systems, ACLU of N.C. communications director Mike Meno said the organization hopes to inform citizens about the relatively new technology.
From the Charlotte Observer (7/22/13): A judge has dismissed a lawsuit alleging that Carolinas HealthCare System, one of the nation’s largest public hospital systems, has broken the state public records law.
From the Charlotte Observer (7/16/13): A Charlotte attorney contends in a lawsuit that one of the nation’s largest public hospital chains, Carolinas HealthCare System, has violated the state public records law by keeping secret the terms of a legal settlement.
From the Southern Pines Pilot (7/16/13):Harsh words and bitter feelings over Moore County being added to legislation that would give control of school construction to the county commissioners have subsided somewhat this week.
The assistant district attorney for Durham County will begin in August and will also teach in Elon's School of Communications.
From the Fayetteville Observer (6/17/13): The General Assembly has passed a bill that brings some clarity to the issue of how much arrest information campus police may withhold from the public. Short version: Some, but not much.
From The Pendulum (6/14/13): A bill allowing the public access to records kept by campus police departments at private and nonprofit universities was signed into law by Gov. Pat McCrory Wednesday.
From the Burlington Times-News (6/13/13): A bill allowing public access to information maintained by campus police affiliated with private and non-profit institutions of higher education in North Carolina became law this week.
From WRAL.com (6/13/13): Gov. Pat McCrory signed into law Wednesday a measure that opens the records of campus police that serve private or nonprofit universities.
From Elon Local News (6/13/13): A bill that makes police records at private universities available to the public was signed by Governor Pat McCrory on Wednesday.
From the Fayetteville Observer (6/8/13): The General Assembly has approved a bill that would open police records on all private school campuses to the public.
From the Southern Pines Pilot (6/2/13): There is an old adage that the two things you never want to watch being made are sausage and laws. These days, the joke attached to that old saying is that if I were a sausage maker, I’d be offended.
From the Charlotte Observer (5/31/13): It’s as though a time machine crashed at the Mecklenburg County Courthouse.
From the Charlotte Observer (5/28/13): A judge is poised to dismiss a complaint filed on behalf of former TV reporters against the city of Charlotte over closed-door negotiations with the Carolina Panthers about stadium improvements.
From the Charlotte Observer (5/23/13): The case between four former media members and the City of Charlotte, over negotiations between the city and the Carolina Panthers for stadium improvements, is expected to be heard by a judge Thursday afternoon.
From the Winston-Salem Journal (5/16/13):North Carolina’s Open Meetings Law appears to provide strong protection of the public’s right to see its government in action. In fact, however, the law has too many loopholes that allow secrecy.
From the Greenville Daily Reflector (5/12/13): The scope of North Carolina’s Open Meetings Law turns on the smallest of phrases. Broadly setting forth the principle that the people’s business should be conducted in public view, the law specifies those few instances that an elected body “may” hold a closed session. That puts in the hands of officials the option — though not the necessity — of holding discussion behind closed doors in certain circumstances.
From the Watauga Democrat (5/2/13): The Boone Town Council met in closed session for the fifth time Wednesday to discuss the county's threatened lawsuit, part of an ongoing saga that has raised concerns for many residents about the transparency and openness of local elected officials.
From NOLA.com (4/25/13): LSU must "immediately produce" the names of the people its board of supervisors considered for the university presidency, an East Baton Rouge Parish judge ruled Thursday. Judge Janice Clark issued the ruling less than three hours after the conclusion of oral arguments in the case, which was brought by NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune and the Advocate against the university.
From the Burlington Times-News (4/22/13): In one of the more predictable spring events, the N.C. League of Municipalities has stated its opposition to a bill now in the N.C. Senate that would make it a misdemeanor for local governments to illegally withhold release of a public record upon request.
From the Raleigh News & Observer (4/8/13): It is time to open up North Carolina’s government operations to the public view. The North Carolina legislature has a great opportunity this year to make state and local governments more ethical and efficient.
From the Raleigh News & Observer (4/5/13): The news conference laying out Gov. Pat McCrory's plan for Medicaid managed care took an unexpected turn when a reporter asked about transparency.
From the Daily Tar Heel (4/5/13): A year and a half is a long time to wait for most things, but especially something that the state of North Carolina requires be given to you quickly.
From the Charlotte Observer (4/2/13): A Charlotte lawyer on Tuesday accused the Charlotte City Council of violating North Carolina’s open meetings law when it agreed in closed session in January to support a tax hike for renovating Bank of America Stadium.
From WBTV (4/2/13): By all appearances, it was a blast from the past because most of the plaintiffs in the case used to deliver the news on television in Charlotte.
From NBCSports.com (4/2/13): In January, Charlotte City Council agreed in a closed session to support a tax increase that would pay for renovations at Bank of America Stadium.
From the Spring Hope Enterprise (3/28/13): A new fee adopted by the Middlesex Board of Commissioners for extensive public records requests may violate the state's Public Records law, according to the North Carolina Press Association.
From the Port City Daily (3/28/13): A bill that would make concealed carry permit holder and pistol permit holder information private in North Carolina has made its way through the state House.
From WNCT (3/27/13): Do you have a right to know who owns a concealed weapon?
From the Lumina News (3/27/13): Violations of public records and open meetings laws could be a misdemeanor crime under a bill sponsored by Sen. Thom Goolsby.
From the Wilson Times (3/26/13): Lawmakers who want to strengthen open meetings and records laws and punish officials who violate them face formidable opposition from state employees groups.