RALEIGH, N.C. — Legislation to shield from the public's eyes the federal government's plans and ideas to close or expand military bases in North Carolina unanimously passed the General Assembly on Wednesday.
The bill, called the Military Lands Protection Act, now awaits Gov. Pat McCrory's signature.
The bill is aimed at future BRAC efforts — base realignment and closure — that the federal government will conduct with its military bases. In past BRACs, the government has shut down military bases around the country and redistributed forces. For example, in the most-recent BRAC, it closed Fort McPherson in Georgia and moved Forces Command — the headquarters of Army resources in the continental United States — to Fort Bragg.
State and local government officials lobby hard to prevent closures in their communities and instead look to grow their local military presence.
In recent interviews, state Rep. Elmer Floyd of Fayetteville said it is important to keep secret — exempt from state public records laws and public meeting laws — information that North Carolina officials get about BRAC from federal officials. Otherwise, he said, competing states might get the information and use it against North Carolina.
The records would become public after the BRAC decisions were announced.
Another section of the bill strengthens laws to prevent tall buildings and other tall structures from being built within 5 miles of military bases if the military objects.