Common Cause NC applauds legislators for introducing constitutional amendment guaranteeing public’s right to access public records and meetings

RALEIGH – A group of North Carolina legislators today proposed a state constitutional amendment to guarantee the public’s right to access public records and meetings.

The proposed amendment – HB 1075 and SB 911 – would add a new section to North Carolina’s Constitution stating in part that “the people of North Carolina have the right of access to information concerning the conduct of the people’s business. Public records are the property of the people. Meetings of public bodies should be open to the people.”

If passed by the legislature, the proposed amendment would be placed on the ballot for a statewide vote in North Carolina during this fall’s general election.

The proposed constitutional amendment comes after some legislators put a provision in last year’s state budget that lets lawmakers hide important records from the public. This new constitutional amendment would elevate public access to government records to a right under North Carolina’s foundational document, and require that any statutes limiting public access be as narrow as possible.

The following is a statement by Ann Webb, Policy Director with Common Cause North Carolina:

“This common-sense amendment would help ensure the transparency needed for members of the public to hold public officials accountable. Especially as we’ve seen some politicians try to limit public records access, it’s time to put this question to the people. We urge the legislature to pass this proposal and allow North Carolinians to vote on the amendment this fall.”

Common Cause North Carolina is a nonpartisan grassroots organization dedicated to upholding the core values of American democracy. We work to create open, honest and accountable government that serves the public interest; promote equal rights, opportunity and representation for all; and empower all people to make their voices heard in the political process.