Sunshine Center’s Harrison to be Panelist for Daylong Seminar

A four-member faculty of academics and attorneys will conduct a seminar titled "What You Need to Know About Public Records and Open Meetings in North Carolina" Nov. 20 in Raleigh. Lorman Education Services is offering the daylong seminar for continuing education credit. Sunshine Center Assistant Director Dale Harrison will serve on the faculty, conducting a session titled “Sunshine Legislation in North Carolina: Current Conditions and a Forecast for the Future.”

Attorney Elizabeth Spainhour will start the day’s sessions with an overview of the state’s Public Records Act, including procedures for accessing records and exceptions to the act. Spainhour is with the Raleigh and Greensboro firm of Brooks, Pierce, McLendon, Humphrey & Leonard. Attorney Pamela Scott of Poyner & Spruill will follow with an examination sunshine laws from an agency perspective. Her talk will focus on how to respond to public records requests, managing e-mail and electronic records, and the Open Meetings Law. The firm of Poyner & Spruill has offices in Raleigh, Charlotte, and Rocky Mount.

In her session titled “Special Concerns,” law professor Jennifer Brobst will next explore the Public Records Law as it pertains to criminal registries, DNA databases, and victims of crime, among other intricacies of the law. Brobst is an assistant professor at the North Carolina Central University School of Law.

Harrison’s session will wrap up the day. He will review key legislative developments in the N.C. General Assembly over the past year and proposed changes to the state’s sunshine laws. He will also examine the process of resolving open records disputes and the “financial realities of sunshine lawsuits” in North Carolina. In addition to his work for the Sunshine Center, Harrison is an adjunct associate professor in the Elon School of Communications, where he teaches media law and ethics among other courses.

According to Lorman’s course materials, the seminar is designed for “attorneys, public information and records managers, city managers, county and municipal officials, law enforcement officials and school administrators.” Several organizations have approved the seminar for 6 hours of continuing education credit, including the N.C. State Bar Board of Continuing Legal Education, North Carolina Criminal Justice Education & Training Standards Division, Institute of Certified Records Managers, and Building Owners and Managers Institute.

The seminar will be held 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at Holiday Inn Raleigh North, 2805 Highwoods Blvd.