Sunshine Week news roundup – Tuesday, March 17

Sunshine Week is well underway, events are happening across the state, and media outlets are publishing stories that highlight "your right to know" how government is working. Today's coverage leads off with several stories about Sunshine Day in Durham and a look at using LobbyGuard machines to screen who enters a public meeting. And The Gaston Gazette has an open government quiz.  

Sunshine Day 2015 is over, but the conversations it started continue. Attorney General Roy Cooper’s keynote speech, in which he said he has noted a shift from openness toward secrecy in state government, was reported in several outlets. The News & Observer and The Charlotte Observer shared coverage, which you can read here and here. WRAL live streamed much of the day, and has video online of the body-worn camera panel, as well as coverage of the day here.  Time Warner Cable News also reported on Sunshine Day here. During the speech by Cooper, a Democrat, state Republican Party Executive Directory Todd Poole announced that he had filed a public records request for Cooper’s correspondence with former Governors Bev Perdue and Mike Easley.

WRAL reporter Mark Binker writes about the Wake County School Board’s use of a LobbyGuard machine to screen people entering meetings. The machine takes a photograph of people entering and runs their drivers license data against a list of sex offenders and people who have been flagged by school officials. Requiring people to use it raises some significant questions under the Open Meetings Law. Read his story here.

The Gaston Gazette created an interactive N.C. Open Government Laws quiz. See how well you do.

The Winston-Salem Journal reports on Forsyth County courts using digital displays to keep people in the courthouse aware of what is happening in different courtrooms.


The Gaston Gazette wrote yesterday on the importance of National Freedom of Information Day and the principles underlying the need for a “right to know.” It’s sister paper, The Times-News in Burlington, ran a variation of the same editorial today.

The Charlotte Observer argues that information about economic development incentives that was recently made off-limits by the General Assembly should be returned to being a public record.

And the Journal is in favor of a compromise bill that would keep public notices in newspapers or their websites.

Happening Today

The Carolina Public Press is hosting a forum “Newsmakers: The Best & Worst of WNC Open Government” today at the Jackson County Public Library in Sylva at 6:30 p.m.