Public records in the North Carolina offer a chance to peer into the depths of state government, and see what is and what isn’t working.
It’s what I use daily in the work I do here as an investigative reporter at N.C. Policy Watch. Access to public records have proven instrumental in reporting pieces I’ve done about the (now former) state legislator who benefitted substantially from a federally- funded non-profit he ran, a Winston-Salem public charter school that recruited basketball players from around the world and a trip to Florida that an educational reform lobbying group paid for a group of lawmakers to go on last year.
This week being Sunshine Week, the annual check-in to see how open and transparent governments are, I thought it a good a time as any to wax poetic about the virtues of transparency.
My favorite line in the N.C. public records law? (And, yes, I’ve read the law enough times to have a favorite.)
That means that records, reports, emails and whatever else is forged in the name of public business belong not to the state agency heads, politicians or bureaucrats that create them, but to John Q. Public. As in, you and me.