Legislature should fix loopholes in state public records laws

Posted: Friday, March 12, 2010

Senate Bill 244 - an "act relating to official action by electronic transmission, to records and to public records" - has been stuck in the Senate State Affairs Committee since Feb. 1. This bill addresses public records, including electronic ones, such as e-mails (including state business on private e-mail accounts) and texts. It also brings certain statutes into the 21st century. It addresses the public's right to access to all public records.

Sen. Linda Menard is Chair of the Senate State Affairs Committee. S.B. 249 must be heard there, and then, it goes through the legislative processes in the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Senate floor. It then starts all over again on the House side. There's not much time left to fix this gaping hole in our public records laws.

So, why is Menard sitting on this bill? What possible reason can there be to hold this bill up in her committee?

Personal or private allegiances have their time and place, but they do not belong in the Legislature. I expect a lot more from the person who represents me in the Senate than a Marmot Day bill.

How about it, Sen. Menard? What about you, Sen. Hollis French? The 2008 Branchflower Report recommended a legislative fix. What about the other senators and representatives? Are you going to finish this session without fixing these loopholes in our public records laws?

Valerie Henning


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