Tucked away at the end of today’s massive additions to the bill formerly known only as the “Voter Information Verification Act,” H589, is a provision (at Part 58) that allows lawmakers to keep communications and documents during the redistricting process secret so long as they pass them through their attorneys.
“§ 120-133. Redistricting communications.
(a) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, all drafting and information requests to legislative employees and documents prepared by legislative employees for legislators concerning redistricting the North Carolina General Assembly or the Congressional Districts are no longer confidential and become public records upon the act establishing the relevant district plan becoming law.
(b) Nothing in this section nor in Chapter 132 of the General Statutes shall be construed as a waiver of the common-law attorney-client privilege nor of the common law work product doctrine . . .
The provision attempts to codify a court ruling in the pending redistricting case which, as we reported previously, resulted in lawmakers being able to withhold from disclosure an array of documents and communications relating to the development of the 2011 redistricting plans — in effect, pushing much of the entire process behind closed doors.