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.
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.