Public Records

Protesters sit outside the N.C. Executive Mansion in Raleigh, N.C., Tuesday morning, June 30, 2020. They camped out overnight Monday to protest a new bill that further limits public access to death investigation records.
Ethan Hyman / News and Observer

Days after the North Carolina legislature's passage of a bill that includes a measure to further restrict death investigation records from public access, some lawmakers say they plan to walk back the provision.

NC Legislative Building
Dave DeWitt / WUNC

While North Carolinians were sleeping early Friday morning, the General Assembly swiftly passed a bill that would shield death-investigation records from the public.

WUNCPolitics Podcast
WUNC

WBTV reporter Nick Ochsner doesn't hesitate to confront a subject who he feels is ducking his questions. He has a reputation for being quick to file a lawsuit when it seems officials aren't following public records laws. 

On this edition of the WUNCPolitics Podcast, Ochsner explains his aggressive approach and whether being from a Gold Star family has influenced his reporting. 


An image of a person typing on a keyboard
Wikipedia Creative Commons / Public Domain

State agencies in North Carolina agree that emails sent through private accounts are subject to public records law if they have to do with public business. But they do not agree on how to retrieve those records. 

In most cases, it is left up to the employee as to whether an email sent through a private account qualifies as a public record. The subject got nationwide attention last year when it was revealed that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton used a private email account to conduct public service.

Photo: The North Carolina General Assembly's Legislative Building
Jorge Valencia

State lawmakers wrapped up a busy week today before the July Fourth holiday.

This week, lawmakers finally broke the logjam in budget negotiations, with an unusual open conference committee meeting in which House and Senate legislators came to an agreement on Medicaid shortfall numbers.

In the meantime, lawmakers pushed through other measures, including one House bill earlier in the week that would study removing law enforcement officers' personal information from online records.

Sunshine Week Icon
sunshineweek.org

This week is Sunshine Week, a time when newsmakers and advocates push for increased transparency in government. North Carolina public records law gives citizens and journalists equal access to information and mandates that all requests be responded to "as promptly as possible."