N.C. Attorney General releases updated guide to open government
Attorney General Josh Stein last week released the North Carolina Open Government Guide to help North Carolinians understand and navigate the state’s public records and open meetings laws, including guidance about digital communications and social media. The guide was produced in collaboration with the North Carolina Press Association and the Sunshine Center of the North Carolina Open Government Coalition.
“Our state’s public records and open meetings laws serve a clear public purpose – to place sunshine on how our government works and allow North Carolinians to hold their representatives accountable,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “Those laws apply even as technology changes. Regardless of whether it’s in a tweet or a memo, I hope this guide will help people get the information they want as fast as possible. I thank the North Carolina Press Association and the Sunshine Center for their partnership.”
In addition to discussing digital media and records, the guide provides instructions on how to make a public records request and the formats in which records can be requested. The guide also contains details about open meetings laws, which clarify how government conducts official business.
“The Sunshine Center of the North Carolina Open Government Coalition is proud to partner with Attorney General Stein’s office in creating an open government guide that addresses the modern information needs of North Carolina citizens,” said Brooks Fuller, director of the North Carolina Open Government Coalition. “The guide is a clear, concise, and usable document that will help serve the people of North Carolina. It makes absolutely clear that government meetings and records belong to the people no matter the medium or technology used to convene or produce them, respectively.”
“The NC Press Association is delighted to partner with Attorney General Stein in his work creating a 21st century guide to address the 21st century issues posed by changing technologies,” said Amanda Martin, general counsel for the North Carolina Press Association. “We are grateful to have an attorney general who is committed to government transparency, as we think only an open government can be a truly good government.”
The North Carolina Department of Justice houses the Open Government Unit, which acts as a liaison between public officials and the public on issues related to public records and the business of government. For questions related to open government laws, contact the Open Government Unit at 919-716-6938.