FOI Daily Dose: More public records in North Carolina and Minnesota

North Carolina rules private school police must disclose records

New legislation in North Carolina requires campus police at private colleges and universities to publicly disclose records, including narrative descriptions about arrests and 911 calls, according to the Fayetteville Observer.

The General Assembly ratified the bill Wednesday, and it’s awaiting the governor’s signature. A former student journalist at Elon University, Nick Ochsner, filed a lawsuit two years ago when his campus police refused to produce an incident report about a student because Elon was a private school.

Minnesota sheds more light on public employee payouts

Changes to the Minnesota state public records law broadened the type of administrators who must explain why they were paid to leave their jobs early, according to the Pioneer Press.

The public records law, known as the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act, applies to teachers, school administrators and other government workers. Rep. Pam Myhra (R-Burnsville) introduced the measure to improve transparency in 2012, arguing that since public employee payouts are funded by public money, the public should know where its money is going.

Despite some gains, administrators still don’t have to disclose the complaints leading up to their resignation. The executive director of the Minnesota Association of School Administrators told the Press this protects public employees when the complaints that cost them their jobs are “totally false.”

Kara Hackett is SPJ’s Pulliam/Kilgore Freedom of Information intern, a freelance writer and a free press enthusiast. Contact her at khackett@spj.org or on Twitter: @KaraHackett.

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