Stateline article includes insights from Brooks Fuller on access to public records

The article, which has been republished in dozens of media outlets across the country, focuses on new state laws including on in North Carolina that shield government records from public scrutiny.

A recent article by Stateline that examines how state legislatures are passing laws to remove certain government records from public scrutiny includes insights from Brooks Fuller, director of the North Carolina Open Government Coalition and assistant professor of journalism at Elon.

Brooks Fuller, Director of the North Carolina Open Government Coalition and Assistant Professor of Journalism

The article follows the passage of state laws, including one in North Carolina, that can make it more challenging for members of the public and journalists to hold government accountable by restricting access to records that were previously available to the public. In the article titled “Worries over secrecy grow as state officials shield records from the public,” reporter Kevin Hardy examines legislative actions in Arkansas, Florida, Arizona, North Carolina and other states where legislators have passed laws saying they are necessary to prevent excessive public record requests.

In North Carolina, a new law passed this year exempts a variety of legislative records from public review, with legislators deciding which documents are released. “It’s a massive change,” said Fuller told Hardy. “It undermines the public access to any document that touches the hands of an individual legislator.”

Fuller added that the changes have caused widespread confusion among lawmakers due to the way it is structured.

Read the entire article for more details. Stateline makes its articles available for republication by media outlets, and the article has since appeared in dozens of outlets around the country.

Fuller researches and writes about free expression, unprotected speech, political extremism, democratic participation and media ethics, primarily using qualitative research methods. The North Carolina Open Government Coalition is a nonpartisan nonprofit housed at Elon that educates the public about access to government information in North Carolina and advocates for improved democracy and civic life through government transparency.