10 November 2015

Success!! NC Updates Public Records Act -- Confidentiality expires 100 years after record creation

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We write a lot about records access.  It is so important to our research.

After the 2015 long session of the North Carolina General Assembly ended on September 30 2015, there were several laws enacted which affect the creation of or access to public records, https://ncrecords.wordpress.com/2015/10/07/public-records-impacts-of-the-2015-long-session/

At a time when we often receive more news about records access being further restricted, with a few “wins” dotting the landscape, I consider the biggest “victory” for the genealogical community in the newly passed NC laws to be this one ...

S.L. 2015-218 (HB 184) adds a section to the Public Records Act (G.S. § 132-11) creating a sunset provision on the confidentiality of public records.  There are five listed exceptions, but otherwise, confidentiality expires 100 years after the record was created.  (The exceptions include those records sealed by a court; those prohibited from disclosure by federal law; those containing Social Security numbers; prison inmate records; and detailed plans and drawings of public buildings and infrastructure facilities.)  This law also modifies G.S. § 121-25 to declare as public records “all photographs, video recordings, or other documentary materials of a derelict vessel or shipwreck or its contents, relics, artifacts, or historic materials in the custody of any agency of North Carolina government or its subdivisions.”

Has your state legislature recently passed any laws to improve records access in your state?

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