Last week, many newspapers wrapped up coverage of Sunshine Week, a time set aside to promote government accountability through public records and public meetings. In North Carolina, the idea of sunshine has been more aspirational than reality-based. Now though, there is greater cause for celebration than we have seen in a long time, thanks to the introduction on Thursday of Senate Bill 355 — The Government Transparency Act of 2021.
Primary sponsors of this monumental bill, Sens. Norman Sanderson (R – Carteret, Craven, Pamlico); Bill Rabon (R – Bladen, Brunswick, New Hanover, Pender); and Joyce Krawiec (R – Davie, Forsyth), have filed one of the most important transparency bills in recent history. By providing meaningful public access to personnel records of state and local government employees, the bill would allow North Carolinians to hold elected leaders accountable for the first time when it comes to hiring, firing and other personnel action.