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Mar. 27—LUMBERTON — Robeson County's resident state senator is backing legislation that aims to make governments release more information about personnel.
Sen. Danny Britt, a Republican from Lumberton, has signed on as a co-sponsor of Senate Bill 355, titled the Government Transparency Act of 2021.
"I think it is important to shed light on government actions," Britt said Friday. "There are some due process concerns I have that I would like to see addressed as the bill moves forward, but I am in favor of the idea as a general premise that the people should have access to that information and that it will inspire confidence in local and state government."
Britt joins fellow Republican Sens. Lisa Stone Barnes, Kevin Corbin, Chuck Edwards; Brent Jackson, Steve Jarvis, Todd Johnson, Paul Newton and Vickie Sawyer as co-sponsors of the legislation that was introduced into the Senate on Thursday. The legislation's primary sponsors are Sens. Norman Sanderson, R-Minnesott Beach; Bill Rabon, R-Fair Bluff; and Joyce Krawiec, R-Kernersville.
The legislation would expand the information that government employers must disclose to the news media or citizens in response to personnel records requests.
State law already makes some information in personnel records public. That information includes a worker's name and age, current salary, salary increases and the "general description of the reasons for each promotion."
The legislation filed Thursday would require a similar general description of the reasons for demotions, dismissals, transfers or suspensions.
The legislation is backed by the North Carolina Press Association.
The legislation is a "real transparency bill" that would give "the public the right to see records on the performance of government employees at all levels," John Bussian, an attorney representing the N.C. Press Association, said recently.
The personnel records legislation also would apply to community colleges and regional agencies that manage patients who receive mental and substance abuse treatment.