Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Statement from State Treasurer Dale R. Folwell, CPA, on Legislative Exemption from State Public Records Laws

Raleigh, NC
Oct 11, 2023

While I may not be an expert on public records laws, I agree with what former North Carolina Governor Jim Martin continues saying. Doing right is rarely wrong. As State Treasurer, keeper of the public purse and recipient of the N.C. Open Government Coalition’s Sunshine Award, I feel strongly that restricting public access to important public information reduces confidence in all levels of government, which is already at historical lows. It matters because in so many ways our society is at a crossroads, trying to decide whether to unite or divide. Answering the whys and hows that legislation is written is more important than ever. By allowing individual lawmakers to determine what records are public and what material can be destroyed without ever seeing the sunshine of public view creates a system without standards or accountability. It prevents the public from learning who and what influenced decision-making on their behalf. There shouldn’t be a double standard of justice where the legislature doesn’t live by laws that other state and local governments do concerning the right to have access to the records of public agencies. I don’t need a law to tell me what’s right or wrong, and that’s true yesterday, today and tomorrow. We will continue to have a culture of conservatism, common sense, courtesy and open communications as keepers of the public purse.